OTTAWA - The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't negate a three-goal deficit, falling to the Ottawa Senators, 4-1, in the first game of a home-and-home set between the two teams.
The Senators scored a trio of goals in the first period, including two separated by just four seconds, while Andrei Svechnikov's seventh of the season got the Canes on the board in the second period.
Here are five takeaways from Canada's capital city.
1. Not Acceptable
On Thursday, the Hurricanes did just about everything right except score enough, running into the brick wall that was Henrik Lundqvist.
Two nights later, the Canes didn't do much right and dropped their fourth straight game.
"That game was not good enough all the way through the lineup, including myself. To a man, we've got to work and be ready to go every shift, every period and every game," Jordan Staal said. "We didn't come out with the effort or competitiveness that we need to win."
"You play a great game and don't get the results and then you come out like that, that's the result you're going to get when you play like that. It wasn't good enough, obviously," Jaccob Slavin said. "That's on us in the locker room. The guys within these four walls, we have to figure it out."
To have such a letdown of an effort after one of the better games of the season, result notwithstanding, is somewhat concerning, especially since the Canes haven't touched the win column since the first of the month.
"They came ready to go, and our guys weren't ready," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We were not winning any battles and just playing so carefree, which is the most disappointing part of the game for me. We're a team that's lost however many in a row, and to come out and play like that at the start is very disturbing. That's what you get in this league if you're not ready to play. To a man, we weren't focused on what we had to do, and that's what you get."
2. Buried in the First
The first period was the story of this game. The Senators put three pucks past James Reimer to build a three-goal advantage, and that was essentially that.
Filip Chlapik scored the first of the game on a rebound just about 10 minutes in. Later in the period, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored just four seconds apart to put Ottawa up 3-0 heading into the first intermission.
"We weren't ready to play, to a man. The first period was a joke," Staal said. "We gave them three goals, and that was it."
"We're having a tough time scoring, and you give away opportunities. That's just going to be impossible at this point. We need to hunker down and not give them any opportunities," Brind'Amour said. "It's a soul-search time for our group. We're better than what we're showing right now, for sure, but tonight was not acceptable."
3. Svech is Ready
The Canes came out a hungrier team in the second period, and Andrei Svechnikov, playing in his 99th career game, was ready, of course.
Just past the midway point of the period, with the Canes working on their fourth power play of the game, Svechnikov stepped up at the left circle and scorched a wrist shot past Andres Nilsson. He didn't get credit for an assist, but Sebastian Aho made a key play that led to the goal, cruising right in front of Nilsson's sightline as Svechnikov got the puck off his stick.
Video: CAR@OTT: Svechnikov snaps puck by Nilsson for PPG
"We knew what we put out there in the first period wasn't our identity. It's not our team. It's not anything that has to do with us. We wanted to obviously come out stronger and make sure we were playing the way we know how to play," Slavin said. "We got back to our game, putting pucks on net, getting some O-zone time and taking care of the puck."
4. Dzingel Drops 'Em
One of the few highlights in an otherwise forgettable first period was Ryan Dzingel dropping the gloves with Vladislav Namestnikov. The two first came together behind the net in a post-whistle dust up, and that probably would have been that. But, shortly after, Namestnikov delivered a dangerously high cross-check to Dzingel in the neutral zone, and it was on. Gloves flew, and Dzingel wailed away, getting in his shots before dragging Namestnikov to the ice.
5. Slowing the Skid
A team is inevitably going to have peaks and valleys in an 82-game season, and the Hurricanes find themselves in a valley right now.
"We think we're better than we are right now. We think we can just go out and win games. It's the NHL. We've got to be ready to go every game. We're not right now," Staal said. "We're leaving our goalies out to dry. I don't know. We're just not good enough. It's got to turn around here soon or it's going to be a long season."
Climbing out of the valley sooner rather than later is imperative, even in early November.
"It's a snowball effect both ways. When you get going good, it's easy and it can roll that way. When it's bad, it's tough to get out sometimes," Brind'Amour said. "Right now, when you're not scoring any goals, everything gets magnified. I think we had quite a few opportunities tonight, but it's still about defending, being ready to play at the start and not giving the other team as many opportunities as we did."
The Hurricanes and Senators square off again on Monday in Raleigh.
"As a team, we're going to want to give it to them. But we can't worry about them. We've got to worry about us and fixing whatever issues we've got," Slavin said. "It's still a long season, so we've got to clean those things up now and hopefully get on a roll here."
"I wish we were playing right now," Brind'Amour said. "I wish we could start over, but you don't. That's not what happens in this league. We'll see. We'll see what this group is made of next game."