ST. LOUIS - The power play got the Carolina Hurricanes on the board in St. Louis, but that was all the offense they could muster in a 4-1 loss to the Blues.
Jaccob Slavin tallied on the power play in the first period, but Ryan O'Reilly's hat trick dropped the Canes to 0-2-1 on their four-game road trip.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.
Frustration is understandably setting in for the Hurricanes, as they struggle to find the back of the net and see opponents' limited chances end up in their own cage.
"It's not a cliché of being frustrated. Sometimes you don't score, and sometimes you win games you shouldn't. It works the other way as well," Justin Williams said. "Regardless of outcomes, we're down in every game. We need to find a way to rectify that because chasing games stinks."
"We should be frustrated. I would hope so. But we've got to park it and come back," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "The guys know they can't keep giving teams goals early and get behind."
For the third straight game on this road trip, the Hurricanes found themselves chasing the game in the first period, and in a span of 2:04, the Blues had jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Ryan O'Reilly's dogged attack on the forecheck resulted in the first goal of the game. He bested Slavin behind the net to force a turnover, and though the Canes had a couple whacks at it after, they still couldn't clear the zone. Vladimir Tarasenko then fed O'Reilly for the one-time tally, which extended his point streak to eight games.
"We gave them the first one by just not managing the puck," Brind'Amour said. "We can't afford do to that."
Shortly after, a microcosm of the Canes' current struggles. At one end, Lucas Wallmark and Andrei Svechnikov executed a give-and-go, and Svechnikov put the shot off the post. The puck went the other way, and at the other end of the ice, Robby Fabbri dangled and scored to make it a 2-0 game.
"It's pretty frustrating. We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole in the first period," Slavin said. "We've got to be able to play for a complete 60 minutes."
"I'm sick of recycling the same old stuff. We were chasing the game again," Williams said. "At the end of the day, excuses are for losers. We're not going to use them, and I'm not searching for them."
The Canes got one back in the first period, and it came via the power play, ranked 29th in the league heading into this contest. It was a simple play, a simple wrist shot from Slavin through traffic in front of the net provided by Williams. It was Slavin's first goal of the season and his second power-play tally of his career.
Video: CAR@STL: Slavin wrists one through traffic for PPG
"It was a good screen in front. I was just trying to get a shot through," Slavin said. "Just a really good screen. The goalie didn't see it."
What momentum the Canes built off that goal, though, was quickly snuffed by the Blues' man advantage. With just 4.7 seconds remaining in the period, O'Reilly tallied his second goal to stretch his team's lead back to two goals.
From there, the Hurricanes seemed to dictate play and limited the Blues to just three shots on goal in the second period and six in the third while they put 25 shots on Chad Johnson.
"It's a game of bounces," Slavin said. "He made some good saves, but I don't think we challenged him as well as we could have."
"Our game is solid, and we're playing pretty well overall," Brind'Amour said. "We're creating more than enough chances to win a hockey game. The fact that they're not going in right now, that's the frustrating part."
The Canes' 4-0-1 start to the 2018-19 regular season seems a distant, fond memory at this point, after the team has slipped to 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.
"We need to stick together," Williams said. "In tough times, that's what every team has to do. Stick together, work through it together because that's the only way we're going to get through it together."
"It's a test for these guys and ourselves to stick with what we're doing and try to find a way to manufacture offense," Brind'Amour said. "Scoring goals is not easy. We've got to get dirty."
The Hurricanes' four-game road trip concludes in Chicago on Thursday.
"They just made some changes, so they're going to give us their best game. It's the same story no matter what," Brind'Amour said. "You have to be prepared and give it your best."