A night that began with excitement and tension ended in disappointment and frustration as the Carolina Hurricanes dropped their first game of the season in a blowout loss to the division rival Florida Panthers. With the schedule being so heavy on divisional play, getting wins or at least strong performances against teams like Florida, Washington, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg is going to be important and the Hurricanes got off to possibly the worst start imaginable. This is only one game, though and the Hurricanes certainly were not the only team to lay an egg on opening night. I know that they need to avoid a bad start, but this is just one game out of 48, so the most they can do now is put this loss in the back of their mind's and move onto their home opener on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
Blowouts have an odd way of working because what is shown on the scoreboard isn't always indicative of what happened during the game. This was the case tonight as most people who watched the game would agree that the Hurricanes played better than the 5-1 loss may lead some to believe. They outplayed Florida at even strength, doubling them up in shots 33-16 and had plenty of good chances that were brushed aside by Jose Theodore. The problem was that the Hurricanes fell behind early, took bad penalties and Florida made them pay for just about all of them, resulting in the Panthers getting a 4-0 lead in the first period. In addition to that, they couldn't make the Panthers pay for the mistakes they made and went 0/6 for the night on the powerplay. After Alex Kovelev scored a soft goal at the side of the net to kick off the second period, the lead was insurmountable and all the Canes could do was peel away at the lead. They had a few good chances to make the game somewhat competitive including getting a few powerplay opportunities, but Theodore had other plans and they ended up taking home a 5-1 loss.
This is a crappy way to start off the year but if anyone is planning on jumping off the bandwagon now then you probably haven't been watching hockey very long. Special teams and goaltending were the main differences tonight and this is just one game in a long season. It's too early to claim that the sky is falling but this game did cause some major concerns for Carolina, specifically on the penalty kill.no comments