The Carolina Hurricanes saw their season-opening, five-game winning streak snapped in a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton found the back of the net again, but the Canes could not erase an early third-period deficit to extend their franchise-best start.
Here are five takeaways from Saturday night at PNC Arena.
1. Streak Snapped
All good things must come to an end, and the Hurricanes are undefeated no more after dropping a one-goal decision to a divisional opponent.
"It would have been nice to go 82-0. It would have been the dream," James Reimer said. "Sometimes you just don't have it."
After a 5-0-0 start, that's the main takeaway from this one: The Hurricanes didn't have it - at least, not enough of it - and the Blue Jackets did. Columbus took an early lead in the third period and sat on it to secure the two points. There wasn't much else the Canes, who never quite got to their game, could do.
"We were flat," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I give the other team credit. They played a great road game. They grinded us down, and we didn't want to get to our game enough. That's what happens."
81-1-0 is still very much alive, though.
2. Grinding Effort
Columbus played the exact type of game they needed to play in order to defeat the previously undefeated. They hung around with the Hurricanes for 40 minutes, trading quick goals in both the first and second periods. And, when they had an opportunity to strike and take the lead in the third period, they did just that.
"They did exactly how we thought they were going to come play us to a T. We weren't ready and didn't mentally prepare properly as a group for that kind of game," Brind'Amour said. "We got what we deserved, in my opinion."
A Canes turnover at the blue line sprung Pierre-Luc Dubois on a breakaway early in the third period, and he converted his backhand opportunity to put the Blue Jackets ahead, 3-2. From there, the visitors locked down their end of the ice.
"When they got that lead, they were responsible with the puck and made smart decisions. We just couldn't quite get inside on them," Reimer said. "We worked hard and battled, but we probably just didn't quite have it.
A night ago, the Hurricanes overwhelmed the Islanders with their speed, persistence and skill.
They never quite got to that level against a Columbus team that had also played the night prior. Perhaps it was fatigue on the tail end of the team's second back-to-back of the season. Perhaps it was being lulled into the game the Blue Jackets wanted to play.
But for whatever reason, the Canes couldn't find that jam that lifted them to the top of the NHL standings in the first week of the season.
"We were making it hard on ourselves. When you're a little bit tired, you start making more mental mistakes than anything," Jordan Staal said. "I thought our decisions with the puck and trying to be cute in a game that just wasn't a game like that made it harder for us to sustain, roll them over and get some momentum."
"They were able to execute a little better than us, and it showed on the scoreboard," Reimer said.
4. Reimer Stands Tall
On the plus side of the Hurricanes' first loss of the season, James Reimer put forth another strong performance in net. He made 32 saves on 35 shots and owns a .933 save percentage across his three starts.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Reimer denies an open Milano
"For me, you wish you can make three more saves, but sometimes things don't go your way," he said. "That's just the way it is."
"If we'd have played one good period, we might have got something. [Reimer] has been good," Brind'Amour said. "That was the one positive sign for me tonight."
5. Haula, Hamilton Score Again
Another upside: Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton continue to find the back of the net.
Haula's team-leading fifth goal of the season capped what was a mesmerizing passing play from Hamilton to Martin Necas down below the goal line to Ryan Dzingel, who one-touched it to Haula for the one-timer. That goal answered Columbus' opening strike just 27 seconds later, tying the game at one in the first period.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Haula finishes nice passing play
In the second period, Hamilton let go of a bomb from downtown that beat Joonas Korpisalo, who was without a stick, on his blocker side. Hamilton has now scored a goal in four consecutive games, the longest such streak of his career.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Hamilton fires slap shot past Korpisalo
The Hurricanes head west for a three-game trek through California, beginning with a Tuesday night tilt against the Los Angeles Kings.