Analysis from Florida
→ Despite climbing out of a 2-0 first period hole, the Carolina Hurricanes fell 3-2 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout on the eve of the trade deadline. Lee Stempniak and Sebastian Aho helped the Canes snag a point in the standings, but goals from Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau in the shootout awarded the Panthers the extra point in the Canes' first shootout action since Dec. 17.
"It was a good point after the way we started through 20," head coach Bill Peters said. "It didn't look very promising there, so I give them all the credit in the world for digging deep and finding a way to gut out a point."
Video: CAR Recap: 'Canes earn point in 3-2 SO defeat
→ Getting a point out of a game like tonight's is a consolation prize for the Hurricanes. The first 20 minutes was slow and sloppy, and the team ended up being down a few bodies due to deadline transactions and injuries.
But the Canes fought through all of that to earn a point.
"It means someone has to step up," Teuvo Teravainen said of the Canes' short bench. "We didn't have the start we wanted, but we came back. We had a good couple periods there. It was too bad we couldn't get the win but at least a point."
→ The Hurricanes played a much more focused, competitive game in the final 40 minutes of regulation than they did in the first 20.
"I liked how we played in the second and third periods," Aho said. "We started to play faster, and everyone skated hard."
"I think we started working harder. We played more simple and put pucks toward the net," Teravainen said. "We know we can play good. We have a young team, and we can play with a lot of pace. When we do that, we're a dangerous team."
In addition to doubling up the Panthers in shots, 12-6, in the second period, the Canes also pulled within a goal on the scoreboard. After fielding a saucer pass from Teravainen that found its way through two bodies and sticks, Stempniak knocked the puck into the net to halve the Panthers' advantage.
"I just tried to put a little sauce in there, and luckily he put it in," Teravainen said.
In the third period, the Hurricanes tied the score when Aho fought his way through traffic in front to locate a rebound and score his 18th goal of the season.
"It was just a reaction play," Aho said. "I just tried to go to the goal."
→ The Hurricanes' first period was rather abysmal. After 20 minutes, the team trailed 2-0 on the scoreboard while recording just three shots on goal. The Canes struggled to move the puck out of their own end, and Cam Ward's rebound control was spotty. All of those aspects improved as the game progressed, but the Canes had dug themselves an early hole.
"Our starts have been good, and it's very rare we start like that," Peters said. "Give [the Panthers] credit, too. I thought they did a good job putting the puck in behind us, and they were quick on the forecheck."
After killing off their first minor penalty of the night, the Hurricanes were immediately charged with too many men on the ice. On the ensuing power play, ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scored his 761st career goal off a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau.
Vincent Trocheck's tallied a rebound goal off a Reilly Smith shot to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The Hurricanes have certainly played a better 20 minutes this season, but there were two additional periods left to play. The Canes needed to flush the first and make the final 40 minutes count - that's just what they did, and they forced extra hockey in doing so.
→ With the departure of Viktor Stalberg to Ottawa in this afternoon's trade, the Hurricanes' roster was light a forward. Brock McGinn, who missed Sunday's game with an upper-body injury, dressed, but Jeff Skinner, who skated with the team this morning, was returning to Raleigh to receive further evaluation on a upper-body injury. So, the team was still down a forward. Defenseman Matt Tennyson drew into the lineup to skate on the fourth line alongside Jay McClement and Joakim Nordstrom.
On the first shift of the game, McGinn received what looked to be an elbow in the face from Michael Matheson. The play, which went undisciplined, stunned McGinn, but he remained in the game - until the second period, at least. After skating in a 12 second shift early in the second, McGinn left the game and did not return with what was ruled an upper-body injury.
"It was different. We thought we'd have four lines with Tenny as a winger, and then all of a sudden you lose Ginner after 20," Peters explained. "It's not a perfect scenario. I thought Tenny did a good job giving us some shifts on the back-end, too. The guys did a good job hanging in there. Rolling three lines, you can do it, but it was starting to show up at the end a little bit, I thought."
The Checkers, who are in a playoff race, were in action tonight and will be again tomorrow, just like the Hurricanes. Injury concerns with Skinner and McGinn, however, might necessitate a recall.
"We'll know more in the morning," Peters said in regards to the statuses of Skinner and McGinn. "We'll see. Nothing to pass on right now."
→ A short flight tonight will take the Hurricanes to Tampa Bay, where they'll square off with the Lightning on Wednesday night, just hours after the 3 p.m. trade deadline.
"We just need to keep playing fast with the same compete level," Aho said.
"Every guy has to prepare and be ready when the puck drops," Teravainen said. "We really have to play with good pace. When we're not skating or moving the puck fast, we're playing slow. That's when we're playing in the D-zone because we're not moving fast enough."