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The Carolina Hurricanes opened their five-game homestand with a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last night, falling 3-1.
It was a tough start for Carolina, going down just two minutes into the game when Owen Tippett redirected a shot through Kochetkov. The Hurricanes did put together a strong frame from there though, with some great chances for Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jack Drury, but then late in the frame, Travis Konecny redirected a nice shot/pass from the point past Kochetkov, to leave the Flyers up 2-0 after 20 minutes.
Things got worse early in the second period, when Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over behind Carolina’s net, and Ryan Poehling roofed a shot in-close, extending the Flyers’ lead. However, despite the Hurricanes not converting on a power play with a good chance to get on the board, a little later, Tony DeAngelo set up Stefan Noesen to beat Carter Hart on a great one-timer, pulling the game back to a two-goal game.
That’s as close as Carolina got though, and while they did outshoot the Flyers 23-12 between the second and third periods combined, they couldn’t beat Hart again and fell 3-1.
Oftentimes in the past couple years, the Hurricanes have found themselves in spots where they can dominate a game and outshoot their opponent by a large margin, but just can't manage to convert and fall short because of it. While Carolina did outshoot Philadelphia pretty badly in the back 40 minutes last night though, this wasn’t necessarily one of those games. For big stretches of that time, it didn’t feel like they had much urgency to battle back, and it still seems like the team is struggling with consistency.
The lines continue to get mixed around just about every game in search of what works, and the team often looks far from the strong defensive group they have been in the past. Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo in particular continued to have some very tough moments last night.
It seems like a missed opportunity to pick up points against an opponent they should be beating, but credit where it’s due: the Flyers are more competitive than most of us would’ve expected. They’ve battled their way back above a .500 record with three-straight road wins.
Part of it also comes down to goaltending, which still has not been an asset for Carolina. It’s not like the goals allowed on Kochetkov were bad, but the Hurricanes have just lost a lot of goaltending battles this year, and Carter Hart was great last night at the other end.
Carolina is still struggling to truly find their game. Last year, there were probably a handful of games where the team really looked off, but that seems to be happening much more frequently early this season. Last night wasn’t necessarily a bad game, but with the roster this team has and the past performance to compare their play to, they should be a much more dominant group.
Regardless, Carolina still has a great chance to build momentum in the coming games. They have four more games remaining on the homestand, with their next matchup coming on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Hurricanes battle back to beat Islanders in OT, split two-game New York set
- Frederik Andersen out indefinitely, Hurricanes sign Jaroslav Halak to PTO
- Hurricanes continue upward trend with overtime win against Sabres
- Hurricanes' homestand an opportunity to continue gaining ground in East