The Carolina Hurricanes had their three-game winning streak halted in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
Vladislav Namestnikov's third-period goal pushed the Rangers over the top, and Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves on 44 shots.
Here are five takeaways from this Metropolitan Division match-up.
In the last two weeks, the Hurricanes have had four-game stretches in which they've won three straight and then lost a game. The losses hurt, of course - every loss does, especially at this time of the year and especially considering both opponents are below the Canes in the standings.
But, looking at the bigger picture, the Canes have played two four-game segments in which they've snagged six of a possible eight points. Playing at that pace in the remaining 22 games of the regular season will lead to good things for this club come early April.
"At this time of year, you've just got to push that one aside and keep moving forward. Every game is so huge for us right now," Jordan Martinook said. "Every point is so big for us right now, and everything matters so much. The losses hurt a little more right now."
This one stings a little more, too, because the Hurricanes arguably played their best game of this three-game homestand. Go figure, then, that after winning 3-1 and 3-0 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the Canes could only tally once in what was their best of those three games.
"It wasn't bad," Justin Williams said. "It wasn't good enough, though."
Video: Hear from Williams, McElhinney & Brind'Amour Postgame
"We worry about one day at a time, one game. That's all we've done. We're not going to change," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "That was our best game we've probably played in seven or eight. It just didn't work out. If we come with that mindset and play that hard, I think we'll be where we want to be at the end of the year."
Just as the difference in the Hurricanes' two wins over the weekend was their goaltending, so too was goaltending the difference for the Rangers tonight.
Lundqvist stopped 43 of the 44 shots he saw, including the flurry of 18 that came his way in the final period.
The Canes hit a couple posts, one on a power play in the third period off a point shot from Justin Faulk, and Lundqvist didn't let anything else past him. With the extra attacker on late in regulation, Williams had a glorious look when Dougie Hamilton fed him with a cross-ice pass down low. Lundqvist lunged over with the blocker to keep the initial shot out and then scrambled to cover the rebound.
"[Lundqvist] was good. Our guy was good. Both goalies went at. He made a few more saves, especially at the end," Brind'Amour said. "It's a tough loss because we played well enough, a good 60 minutes, but we just didn't score."
"We had a good mindset going into the third period. … It just didn't happen. We hit a couple posts tonight. It just didn't go our way," Williams said. "We had a lot of chances to win, that's for certain. It didn't go our way. That was a big one we let slip away."
Martinook opened the game's scoring in the second period, when he smacked in his own rebound. The goal, his 13th of the season, continues to build on his career year.
Video: NYR@CAR: Martinook cleans up own rebound in front
"We had a good shift in the O-zone. Dougie came down, and him and Svech played give-and-go. I thought Dougie was going to shoot it, and I was just trying to beat my guy to the net," Martinook said. "When he passed it to me, I missed on the first one and got the second one there."
The Rangers answered just 47 seconds later, when a rebound off a shot from Filip Chytil deflected in off Connor Brickley, who was crashing the net. The goal was initially waved off by referee Wes McCauley, but a quick review with Toronto settled the dispute.
New York scored what held as the game-winning goal in the third period when Namestnikov hopped on what was a second rebound in the slot just as Brock McGinn was exiting the penalty box.
"Just unfortunate bounces there," Brind'Amour said. "Hockey's random like that sometimes."
Jaccob Slavin had a monster game in New York City almost two weeks ago, as he prevented at least two, if not three goals from being scored in what ended up being Petr Mrazek's second shutout of the season.
He saved another would-be goal early in tonight's game when a shot eluded Curtis McElhinney underneath him. Slavin alertly whacked the loose puck out of the crease to prevent the Rangers from snagging an early advantage.
Video: NYR@CAR: Slavin helps McElhinney keep the puck out
In the third period, with the Rangers working with 42 seconds of a two-man advantage, Slavin got in a shooting lane and blocked New York's only good look. Some strong work along the near boards by Martinook then resulted in a zone clear.
The Hurricanes will head out on their annual Mentors' Trip, which will take the team and their dads through Florida and Dallas on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
"We'll go on the road with the fathers, have a good time and show them a couple wins hopefully," Williams said.