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The Carolina Hurricanes suffered their fourth loss in a row last night, falling 4-0 to the Arizona Coyotes.
Pyotr Kochetkov got his third straight start, as expected starter Antti Raanta was hurt at the morning skate.
The Coyotes opened the scoring right away, as Nick Schmaltz came down the wing and while Jaccob Slavin tried to get his stick in the lane to prevent a shot, the puck ended up ramping off Slavin’s stick on release and beat Kochetkov. The Hurricanes did go on to dominate the period after that, outshooting Arizona by a ridiculous 14-1 margin. However, they couldn’t capitalize and despite having three power play opportunities in the frame, including a long 5-on-3, they still exited the period down a goal.
Arizona then put together a much better second period and especially early in the frame, they badly outshot and outchanced Carolina. Kochetkov was forced to make some key saves throughout the period, including a wild paddle save on Travis Boyd late in the frame, keeping the Hurricanes only down one through 40 minutes.
Despite Kochetkov continuing to hold off the Coyotes early in the frame, Lawson Crouse struck as a power play came to an end only two minutes into the period, scoring off a rebound. Then later in the frame, Nick Bjugstad out-battled Jordan Staal in front for a loose puck to beat Kochetkov, extending the lead to 3-0. There was no late comeback from the Hurricanes this time, as Crouse added a late empty net goal, on route to a 4-0 Coyotes win.
Carolina put together a dominant first period, but pretty much fell flat after that.
Once again, the Hurricanes couldn’t bury their chances, with the lack of secondary offense becoming a bigger and bigger problem. There also doesn’t seem to be a clear solution right now, and given the lack of finishing ability has been an issue before (but is just much more apparent now), this isn’t necessarily a temporary problem.
The power play also continues to be borderline useless, going 0-for-4 last night. At just 13.5 per cent this season, it’s verging on the worst in the entire NHL.
In other, more positive news though, the Hurricanes did sign Pyotr Kochetkov to a four-year contract extension, which carries a $2 million cap hit.
While Kochetkov has a really limited sample size of NHL action, this deal could carry huge value for Carolina. He’s still young, is being looked at as the team’s future starter and in the worst-case scenario, the Hurricanes are probably only slightly overpaying for a backup.
Best-case scenario though, Carolina will have a starter under contract for several years at a bargain of a price.
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