Analysis from Raleigh
→ It was yet another back-and-forth affair between the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes, and again the Flyers came out on top, this time by a score of 4-3 in a Sunday evening match-up at PNC Arena.
"We made a few minor errors that ended up in our net," Jordan Staal said, summing up in 12 short words really what went south for the Canes tonight.
"There are some positives. Same story. Scored enough to win," head coach Bill Peters said. "We're giving up too much. It's not a way to win. It's not a recipe for success, short-term or long-term."
Video: CAR Recap: Hurricanes outlasted by Flyers, 4-3
→ As Peters pointed out, three goals for is typically the magic number, enough for two points on a given night in the NHL. But the Hurricanes aren't out-scoring their mistakes.
Whether it's a failed clearing attempt on the power play (which led to Philadelphia's first goal of the game) or a turnover in the neutral zone and a breakdown in coverage coming back (which led to Philadelphia's third goal), the Canes are making one too many mistakes in the early season to be consistently successful.
"It's a five-man defensive unit. It takes one little bump, one little mistake from a guy in the wrong spot, and the whole thing breaks down," Staal said. "You have to have everyone on the same page."
"Our details aren't very good. It compounds itself," Peters said. "Puck management is the biggest thing we have to address."
→ The Hurricanes' biggest breakdown came at the most crucial time. With the score even at three in the third period, the Canes were given a power play opportunity when rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov was whistled for hooking. Instead of scoring to take the lead or at least generating a bit of momentum from the man advantage, the Canes allowed a shorthanded tally to Flyers' defenseman Brandon Manning - his second goal of the season, both scored against Carolina - that proved to be the game-winner.
"That's on us," Peters said. "3-3 at home - it doesn't matter whether you're at home or on the road, it's 3-3 in the third period and you're on the power play. That's a pretty good scenario for a power play that's been good."
"That hurts, giving it up shorthanded," Jeff Skinner said. "You're tied heading into the third at home, you want to find a way to execute better than that."
→ Eight days ago in Philadelphia, the second period played between these two teams featured seven combined goals. Tonight's middle frame was another goal-filled affair, as the two teams traded five goals.
First it was the Hurricanes getting on the board to even the score at one, as Justin Faulk's quick snap shot from the point beat Michal Neuvirth through Lee Stempniak's provided screen.
The Hurricanes killed off a hooking penalty assessed to Phil Di Giuseppe, but immediately after, the Flyers reclaimed the lead when Radko Gudas' point shot found its way through a screen and past Ward.
Later, in a span of 1:45, the Hurricanes swung the pendulum back in their favor with a pair of goals. Jeff Skinner continued his hot streak, potting his team-leading fifth goal of the season (and also his team-leading 11th point) on a delayed penalty sequence. Then, Viktor Stalberg converted on a great one-man effort, as he poked the puck off Ivan Provorov's stick at the blue line and raced down the ice for the five-hole tally, his second of the season.
Philadelphia's captain, Claude Giroux, gave his team the one-goal advantage in the last three minutes of the second period after he was left open in the slot and rifled home a one-timer.
"We had the puck in the neutral zone. We didn't make a play, we turned it over in the neutral zone and then we don't defend very well coming back in," Peters explained. "It's a cross-corner dump on that play, and we have enough guys back but we don't pick people up."
Video: Hear from Skinner, Staal, and Peters Postgame
→ With the secondary assist on Skinner's second period goal, Victor Rask now has points in eight straight games and has sole possession of second place for the longest point streak to begin a season in franchise history. He trails only Ron Francis, who had points in 11 straight games to begin the 1984-85 season.
→ The Hurricanes finish October with a 2-4-2 record and six points in the standings. Carolina now hits the road again to face the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and the Nashville Predators on Saturday before coming back to PNC Arena to host the New Jersey Devils a week from now.
"It's been a tough start, but it will be nice to get a few practices in after a big game in Ottawa, hopefully a good win, and we'll continue to work on the things we need to work on to be a better team," Staal said.
"We need 18 guys going. We don't have 18 guys going right now," Peters said. "We need 18 guys to find a way to make a positive contribution in the game. It's as simple as that."