WINNIPEG - The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, in their first regulation loss of the season.
Jeff Skinner scored a goal in his 500th career NHL game, but the Canes couldn't add to that on the scoreboard. Nikolaj Ehlers tallied the game-winning goal for Winnipeg in the third period.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.
Playing in his 500th career NHL game, Jeff Skinner scored his 182nd career goal to draw the score even at one in the first period. On the power play, Noah Hanifin faked the shot to draw the defender in before sliding the puck over to Skinner. The 25-year-old winger stepped up and snapped his shot past Connor Hellebuyck for his second goal in as many games.
"Hani did a great job freezing him with the fake shot. It opened up a little time, and then Rasker and Doc did a great job in front giving a good screen," Skinner said. "ll five guys were in on the goal."
"Jeffy has been around for a while now. He's played a lot of good games for us," Jordan Staal said. "He scored a big goal to tie it up for us."
Video: CAR@WPG: Skinner wires home a PPG in his 500th game
While the Canes scored their lone goal of the game tonight on the power play, the man advantage still needs some tinkering. It wasn't in sync for much of the night, and at times the Canes struggled to even gain the zone. Three games is a small sample size, but the Canes' man advantage is 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) to begin the season.
And that was it for the Hurricanes' offense. The team hasn't scored a 5-on-5 goal in two games now.
"We've got to get more pucks to the net and get more bodies to the net," Skinner said. "Once we're there, we've got to bear down and finish plays off."
"I think they were better than us for the most part," head coach Bill Peters said. "We didn't make enough plays. We didn't get enough pucks to the net or bodies to the net."
As a group, the Hurricanes know what needs correcting to be more effective at even strength moving forward.
"They did a good job of boxing out, but more or less it was kind of on us to get in front of his eyes, and we didn't do enough of that," Staal said. "It was a few too many pucks he saw and not enough shots getting through."
"I think we just need to be more hungry. We have opportunities," Skinner said. "More hunger, more desperation. It's disappointing when that's the reason because that's in your control. We need more hunger and more desperation for sure."
"We've got to get to the net," Peters said. "There's too many times where he's seeing it. If you're shooting from distance with no traffic, they're going to make the save and there's nobody there for seconds and thirds. That's what that is."
With the Canes' offense in search of more, perhaps we'll get a look at Martin Necas or Josh Jooris in Edmonton on Tuesday.
For a stretch of time, the Hurricanes looked like they were going to take over the game and skate away from the Jets in the second period. They were controlling possession and dictating play, all the while limiting the Jets to just four shots on goal in the middle stanza.
But, they couldn't get a second goal on the board.
"We weren't playing up to our standards," Staal said. "In the second period we started taking over a bit but we still weren't skating the way we can, executing the way we can or creating more offense the way we know we can."
"There was a short little stretch where we were good in the O-zone and it looked like we were starting to get a little quicker, but I didn't think we made very good decisions with the puck for the most part throughout the game, and our execution with the puck left a little bit to be desired," Peters said.
Through three games, Scott Darling is proving to be an astute acquisition. While the Canes offense sorts itself out, he's been reliable in the blue paint.
Late in the second period, Darling bodied down a puck before making a save in the splits on a rebound. With mayhem in front of the net - no shortage of about eight bodies - Darling fought through traffic to locate the loose puck and cover it for the whistle.
Video: CAR@WPG: Darling stands strong, stuffs Jets in front
Early in the third period, Mark Scheifele got his stick on a rebound in the slot, and Darling slid across the crease to make the save, leaving Scheifele starting at the ceiling in disbelief.
Video: CAR@WPG: Darling denies Wheeler, Scheifele up close
"He gives us a chance every night," Peters said. "No matter who's in net, we need to be better and harder offensively."
The Hurricanes will settle into an every-other-day-rhythm beginning next week in Edmonton. Perhaps that's what the team needs to find their groove.
"It's definitely going to be nice for us to get in a little bit of a rhythm," Skinner said. "We've got a big road trip. Not the way we wanted to start it, but we've got some games coming up to get in the rhythm of the season."
"We play in the NHL. We have to be ready for every game and execute every game," Staal said. "It's got to be better than what we did tonight."
The Canes' four-game road swing now shifts to Edmonton, where they will face off with the Oilers on Tuesday.