Analysis from Vancouver
→ It was déjà vu for the Carolina Hurricanes, and in the worst possible way. For the second game in a row, the Canes surrendered a three-goal lead and fell 4-3 to the Vancouver Canucks in overtime.
"With a young group it can be tough to stay calm through games like that," Jordan Staal said. "Including myself, it seemed like everyone was kind of off the page in the third period there."
Video: CAR Recap: Faulk notches two-point night in OT loss
→ At what point does this go from a coincidence or a learning experience with a young team to a concerning trend? In the Canes' final two preseason games, they saw third-period leads disappear before ultimately winning both games in shootouts. Now in their first two games of the regular season, they've been unable to hold onto three-goal leads late in games.
"We're going to have to keep moving forward. We've let two points slip now. It's a matter of learning from it," Staal said. "We've got to find ways to win. We've done some good things throughout these two games, but we haven't finished strong. We have to find a way to do that."
"It's obviously something we have to address here as a team," Eddie Lack said. "Three-goal lead on Thursday and a three-goal lead today. If we're going to make the playoffs, we can't [give those up]."
"You've got to extend the lead," head coach Bill Peters said. "Identify the problem and be solution-based. That's what we'll do."
Peters countered with the fact that the Hurricanes have established big leads - 4-1 in Winnipeg and 3-0 tonight. And that much is true. Last year, the team struggled to find offense. That doesn't seem to be the case through two games.
"We've scored some goals," Peters said. "Certain guys are doing the right things in order to score, and other guys are a little late to the party in that regard. Now we'll be able to make a couple changes to the lineup to make our team better."
→ Down 3-0, Vancouver's comeback began in the second period when noted Canes assassin Bo Horvat got his team on the board. Early in the third period, it was Markus Granlund scoring after the Canes turned it over in the defensive zone. The Canucks continued to press and the Hurricanes weathered what they could, but Ben Hutton eventually tied the game at three with just less than six minutes left to play in regulation.
"It was tough. I felt like we had the game under control," Lack said. "We played a good team game, but individual mistakes - giving the puck away, and I should have had the first one."
→ Lack returned to Vancouver and got the start in net. Much like his body of work in the exhibition season, he turned in an impressive performance, making 27 saves on 30 shots in regulation. He stole the Hurricanes a point, especially with his play early in the game as the Canes settled in and through much of the third period when the Canucks were pressing.
"They came out fairly strong. Eddie did a great job of keeping the puck out for a while until we got our legs going," Staal said. "We have to play better in front of him coming down the stretch."
"We didn't start on time, that's for sure. That's disappointing," Peters said. "[Eddie] did a good job. He was big and held his ground."
→ Once again, much of what happened before Vancouver pushed back was good. It took the Hurricanes the first half of the first period to settle into this one, but once they did, they were able to establish a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.
The Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak threesome broke the ice at the 17:36 mark of the first. After a battle along the boards, Rask fed the puck down the wall for Stempniak, who then sent a perfectly placed backhanded drop pass to Rask's stick for the one-time, bar-down goal.
Not even two minutes later, on the Canes' first power play of the game, Teuvo Teravainen hopped on a loose puck and lasered it past Jacob Markstrom, who had trouble tracking the puck. It was Teravainen's first goal as a Hurricane, and Sebastian Aho registered the secondary assist on the goal, his second point in as many games.
"We've done a better job of having net-front presence," Peters explained. "If you look at the goal, someone shoots it up top and we have a double screen. Markstrom I don't think finds it, it goes out to Turbo on the flank and he scores."
"We've got a lot of skill on the power play," Staal said. "You can tell with the way our top three on both units are moving the puck and finding ways to get it on net."
→ Justin Faulk stretched the Canes' lead to three goals in the second period after a good read in the neutral zone to jump in the play. He corralled a loose puck, carried it over the blue line and sent a shot on net. Markstrom spit out the rebound, and Faulk crashed the net and punched it in.
→ The Hurricanes' tour of Western Canada continues on Tuesday in Edmonton at brand new Rogers Place.