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Hurricanes give up eight goals in blowout loss to Lightning

November 25, 2023, 8:52 PM ET [1 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The Carolina Hurricanes’ brief two-game win streak came to an end last night, falling 8-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was an interesting opening frame, with neither team giving up a lot. That said, the Hurricanes had their chances around the net, including an opportunity for Michael Bunting redirecting a pass from Stefan Noesen just wide. Then late in the frame, the fourth line did manage to convert, as Jack Drury set up Noesen in front, who beat a returning Andrei Vasilevskiy to open the scoring. Carolina outshot Tampa Bay 8-1 in the period, getting off to another strong start.

Things took a huge turn in the second period, however. First, Andrei Svechnikov took a tripping penalty, and Steven Stamkos unleashed a one-timer to beat Antti Raanta on the man advantage, tying the game. Then minutes later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi put the Hurricanes shorthanded again, and near the end of that power play, Brandon Hagel found Nikita Kucherov for another one-timer, to put the Lightning ahead. Then under 10 seconds after the puck was dropped following the goal, Michael Bunting took a four-minute high-sticking penalty, and Brayden Point buried a pass from Kucherov only seconds into the man advantage, extending the lead for Tampa Bay with yet another power play goal.

With three power play goals in under six minutes (and three goals total on only four shots in the game), the Hurricanes quickly found themselves down 3-1 early in the second period.

Despite Carolina being unsuccessful on a power play a little later, they ended up with another man advantage later, where Michael Bunting managed to beat Vailevskiy, cutting the lead to one.

The Hurricanes had the momentum through the rest of the frame and did have some opportunities, along with another power play, but remained down through 40 minutes.

Only a little over five minutes into the third period though, Brayden Point found Brandon Hagel with a great pass, and Hagel beat Raanta to make it 4-2. Then only shortly after, Luke Glendening beat Raanta with a wraparound, for the fifth Lightning goal on just their 10th shot of the game. Then just after a Hurricanes’ power play ended, Brayden Point scored as well, making it a 6-2 game.

The Lightning continued to pile on later, and both Kucherov and Point scored again, leading to an 8-2 final.

While it’s going to be pretty difficult to find upside in a game where you lose by six goals, I think the score makes the game seem a lot worse than it was. Carolina was the better team through the first 40 minutes, and gave up only four shots at even strength in the first two periods.

Antti Raanta was unfortunately a story here. While maybe only the wraparound goal can be considered one that really should’ve been stopped, he still allowed eight goals on 14 shots. In all fairness, it seems like a huge percentage of the shots the Hurricanes gave up were high-danger chances, but ending the game below a .500 save percentage through a full 60 minutes is a pretty disastrous stat.

Carolina’s penalty kill was terrible, allowing four goals on five opportunities. While the Lightning do have a lot of firepower on their top unit, the Hurricanes have yet to really find consistency with what was one of the league’s best penalty kills in past years.

Personally though, I still think this loss provides more optimism than some of the others earlier on, where Carolina was visibly out of sorts all game long. There were mistakes, there was poor goaltending, and the penalty kill was terrible, but the effort was there and Carolina was the better team at even strength through much of the game.

A big positive as well was the fourth line, with Michael Bunting, Jack Drury and Stefan Noesen really clicking. It’s not really even a bottom line, with far more skill and offensive upside than any sort of traditional ‘fourth line’, but the group looked great together last night.

With the loss, the Hurricanes fall to 11-8-0 on the season – they'll be back in action tomorrow, when they wrap up their homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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