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The Carolina Hurricanes three-game playoff win streak was snapped this afternoon, as they fell 8-4 to the New Jersey Devils.
The Hurricanes found themselves down early for the first time against the Devils, with Timo Meier beating Frederik Anderen with a wraparound to open the scoring. Then only a short time later, Jack Hughes beat Andersen on a bit of a broken pass from ex-Hurricane Brendan Smith on an odd-man rush, making it 2-0 halfway through the period. Things got worse from there, with Michael McLeod coming in on a shorthanded rush and somehow getting the puck through Andersen, putting Carolina’s deficit at three. Arguably both the first and third goals were pretty weak, and the Hurricanes found themselves down 3-0 after the first period as a result.
Nico Hischier then made it 4-0 only a minute into the second period, after the puck pin-balled around the crease and got to him in the slot. That marked the end of Andersen’s night, as Pyotr Kochetkov entered in relief. While Sebastian Aho did get the Hurricanes on the board only a minute later, Damon Severson reinstated the four-goal lead soon after, spinning off a hit and heading towards the net to put a puck past Kochetkov.
We notably saw a scrum between Aho and Jack Hughes later in the period, before Martinook cut the lead to three once again on a penalty shot, but the Hurricanes remained down big through 40 minutes.
An early third period goal from Miles Wood then made the game 6-2, before Jack Hughes somehow snuck a shot through Kochetkov for a five-goal lead. Carolina did make things a bit interesting later, with not one but two shorthanded goals coming on the same New Jersey power play (courtesy of Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast), cutting the lead to 7-4.
However, Carolina continued to get into penalty trouble (with four players in the box at one point), and Ondrej Palat wired a shot past Kochetkov on an ensuing power play to make it 8-4. The Devils held on from there, picking up their first win of the series.
So after two games where the Hurricanes looked pretty much unstoppable, this time, the roles were reversed.
After containing New Jersey for two straight games, the Devils’ offense exploded. The Hurricanes were allowing way more chances off the rush, with players being caught out of position and giving up easy opportunities.
Carolina, on the other hand, got very little going through the first period, and it’s always going to be tough to come back from a three-goal deficit. The three shorthanded goals were a pretty wild feat, but that was about the only positive.
Andersen, who’s been so good to this point, was shaky at best. We know he can be inconsistent, and he offered no help in the first period. Then Kochetkov really didn’t play great in relief, either. They didn’t get a ton of help at times but between the two netminders, the Hurricanes allowed eight goals on 34 shots – and at least three of them were goals you just can't afford to give up in the playoffs.
It’s a game to forget, but we’ve seen the Hurricanes can bounce back. After going up 2-0 in their series against the New York Islanders, Carolina fell apart to allow four goals in about two minutes at the end of Game 3, on route to a loss. But they rebounded for a Game 4 win, still taking a stranglehold of the series. They only needed one win in New Jersey to head back to Carolina with a great opportunity in Game 5, and can still make that happen.
Game 4 is set for Tuesday.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM MAY
Hurricanes set to face Devils in second round
Previewing the Hurricanes’ second round series against the Devils
Hurricanes shut down Devils for convincing Game 1 win
Hurricanes dominate Devils again for 6-1 win in Game 2