Twice it seemed as if the Carolina Hurricanes were going to come away with a victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, first in regulation and then in overtime.
But twice it did not work out that way for the Canes in what ended as a 3-2 shootout loss.
"We competed. We know what this series against them is going to be. It's going to be tight and not much is going to be given. You're going to have to be gritty," Warren Foegele said. "I thought we played hard tonight. It's just unfortunate the way the results were."
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
The Canes deserved a better fate, but hockey is a weird, random, beautiful game, and sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. This was one of those games.
"There's nothing not to like other than the result. It was a grind, and we knew that coming in," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We had the game won. Unfortunately, things just didn't work out."
Here's how the Canes had the game won - and then didn't.
With less than five minutes to play in regulation, Warren Foegele won a battle to get to a loose puck at the crease and tapped in the go-ahead tally.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Foegele drives to the net and buries puck
"That's how you score in this league 5-on-5," Brind'Amour said. "They've got big D, and you've got to get inside them."
With just 28.4 seconds left in regulation, Seth Jones, the overtime hero for Columbus on Thursday, scored on a top-shelf wrister from the top of the right circle to tie the game at two and force extra hockey again.
In overtime, Dougie Hamilton appeared to score on a 4-on-3 power play, but Columbus challenged for an offside zone entry, and sure enough. The goal was wiped off the board, the Blue Jackets killed off the penalty and on the game went.
In the shootout, Hamilton scored again - and that goal stood - but he was the only Hurricane to beat Elvis Merzlikins. Patrik Laine scored in the bottom of the third to keep the shootout going, and Oliver Bjorkstrand netted the deciding goal in the fourth round.
"During our eight-game winning streak, there were probably games we didn't deserve to win. Tonight, we deserved better. That's just part of the game," Foegele said. "We fought hard tonight."
Plus: Andrei Svechnikov gets on the board
It was a quarter 'til 11 p.m. on Thursday night, a good hour after the game had ended, when Svechnikov was spotted back out on the ice shooting a bucket of pucks into the net. This scene isn't exactly uncommon - if he's not on the ice, he's practicing his shot in the shooting gallery the Canes have set up a short walk from their locker room - but it underscores his determination and dedication to bettering himself, especially after an overtime loss in which he felt like he could have made a difference.
You kind of had to figure Svechnikov was going to score the next game. Of course he did.
Svechnikov broke a scoreless deadlock late in the second period, as he set up camp at the top of the crease and batted in a rebound from a Brett Pesce shot out of mid-air.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Svechnikov finds a loose puck and buries it
"When you score, you get more confidence," he said.
Having scored his first goal since March 4, relief was evident in Svechnikov's fist pump and smile.
"It's a weight off his shoulders," Brind'Amour said. "He puts a lot of pressure on himself."
Minus: Having the game-winning goal in overtime disallowed
The Canes worked the puck around their formation on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime. Hamilton dished down low to Martin Necas, and he walked it up around Hamilton, who quietly slid off to the top of the left circle. Necas then skated the puck down into the high slot before dishing a no-look pass to Hamilton for the one-timer.
Not so fast. Columbus challenged for an offside zone entry, and indeed, 19 seconds prior, Svechnikov had entered the zone just before the puck. No goal.
"I didn't know I was offside. I think I just got too excited," he said. "It's 4-on-3. I should have been more patient. It happens. That's hockey. I feel bad."
"He's still learning. He's going to learn on this one about going offside," Brind'Amour said. "Take that extra second and make sure. It's a 4-on-3. There's no reason to try to get excited and get that goal right now. One thing at a time. I don't think he'll do that again."
11: Though his game-winning goal didn't stand, Hamilton did still extend his point streak to 11 games (2g, 11a) with the primary assist on Foegele's goal. That ties Mark Howe's franchise record for the longest point streak by a defenseman.
Dec. 14, 2018: The Canes had won their last 10 shootouts, a streak that dated back to March 2019. Before tonight, their last shootout loss came on Dec. 14, 2018 against the Washington Capitals.
1,000: Tonight marked Don Waddell's 1,000th career regular-season game as an NHL general manager. He was the GM for the Atlanta Thrashers for 820 games (1999-2010) and has now served in the same position with the Canes for 180 games (2018-present).
Mood of the Night
Merzlikins denied Necas with an unreal glove stop in overtime, and Necas' reaction is the mood for the evening.
Quote of the Night
"We could have easily gotten frustrated the way the game was going. There wasn't a lot of action offensively for some guys. We stuck with it. It didn't happen. It was a weird game that way, but I'll take the effort." - Rod Brind'Amour
This four-game series now shifts to Columbus for two games on Monday and Wednesday.