After a week-long hiatus for All-Star festivities in Las Vegas on Monday night, the Carolina Hurricanes got back on the horseback for the second half, starting with a tough road game against the Toronto Maple Leafs . It was a hard-fought back-and-forth affair that saw the Hurricanes twice take a one-goal lead, but sloppy play and a few too many errors led to a 4-3 overtime victory for the local team.
While not the best game for the Hurricanes, there were some bright spots from the game and some potential areas for the coaching staff and management to look at in the theater and consider as the deadline. trade is looming at the end of next month. The team obviously remain in a fantastic position at 31-9-3 and continue to prove that even when they’re not playing their best, they can still compete with some of the best teams in the league.
It’s always painful to lose a game you’re leading in the third period, especially when you’re leading late in the last quarter, like the Hurricanes did tonight. Toronto’s Mitch Marner tied the game with less than six minutes left, then won it in overtime to give the Maple Leafs the win in Carolina’s first return to Scotiabank Arena since David Ayres’ legendary game . While there may not be anything quite as dramatic about this game, here are three nonetheless important takeaways from the Hurricanes’ overtime loss to the Leafs.
Absences from Teravainen, Kotkaniemi hurts, but the depth is still strong
The Hurricanes hoped the bye week (along with the two games he missed before the break) would be enough to bring Teuvo Teravainen back into the lineup. It was a game time decision for Monday’s tilt. However, he didn’t play and former Maple Leaf Josh Leivo was called up before the puck dropped. Additionally, Jesperi Kotkaniemi entered COVID protocol on Sunday, which meant the Hurricanes were left without two important forwards against the Leafs’ high-flying offense.
These absences led to some line juggling. The front row was recently Sebastian Aho in the center, flanked by Teravainen and Seth Jarvis, with Vincent Trocheck centered on Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov on the second row. Against Toronto, Necas and Jarvis toppled, and instead of mounting Nino Niederreiter (or just Svechnikov), fourth-line Jordan Martinook was moved to the front row alongside Aho. Now, I’ve been a hater of that particular move for a while, but head coach Rod Brind’Amour seems determined to do it whenever an injury arises in the top six. Martinook is an excellent fourth line winger, but his flaws are exposed when asked to play this type of attacking role.