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PREVIEW: Hurricanes’ goal: Kill power play vs. Blue Jackets

Jan 28, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

A loss that ends a five-game winning streak is hardly the end of the world. Yet, the Carolina Hurricanes go into Sunday afternoon’s road clash against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a snarky mood.

Losing isn’t acceptable when, in your opinion, you don’t give yourself a chance to win a game, which is what the Hurricanes felt after a 6-4 road loss at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

After opening the scoring 75 seconds into the clash, the Hurricanes surrendered not just one, not two but three power-play goals to the Blackhawks in the first period alone en route to the maddening defeat.

“We gave away the game in the first period,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You can’t kill penalties, you’re not going to win. To me, it was a special-teams loss for us. We gave up two goals, really, but gave up three in the first period on the penalty kill. You’re not going to win when you do that.”

Last season, the Hurricanes had the eighth-best penalty kill. Granted, they’re only eight games into the season, but they’re in the middle of the pack.

That said, it’s pretty rare for a team to be shorthanded four times in an opening period — which the Hurricanes were in Thursday’s loss — and just as rare to be torched for a trio of goals against. Even so, Carolina expects better when facing the Blue Jackets in an afternoon affair.

“We gave up a lot of breakaways, our power play was very bad (0-for-4), our (penalty kill) was very bad (2-for-5),” defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. “It’s hard to win when you have those things.”

The Blue Jackets are back in action after snapping a two-game losing skid with a 4-3 home victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, a win in big part thanks to goals from their two newcomers from the big trade with the Winnipeg Jets: Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine.

“It always feels good to contribute,” said Roslovic, who added an assist. “We were more confident as a group, but there were a lot of parts of the game that went back and forth, and we did a good job pushing back when they were pushing forward.”

Laine’s goal was a huge improvement on his Blue Jackets debut, a game in which he played more than 20 minutes but managed just two shots on goal, no points and a minus-2 rating, a disappointing performance that wasn’t due to a lack of effort, coach John Tortorella said.

“He’s trying to do too much and I think that’s just how he’s made,” Tortorella said of Laine. “I think that’s why he’s one of the best goal-scorers in the league; he wants to push the limits as far as what he’s going to do.”

Plus, it’ll take time for the newcomers to fully integrate into the Columbus system.

“With all the new guys in our lineup, we have some work to do as far as understanding (what to do) away from the puck and what’s expected and how we play, that part of the game,” Tortorella said. “But we knew that was going to happen.”

On the injury front, the Hurricanes will be without forward Martin Necas, who left late in the Chicago loss after a hit along the board. The good news for the Hurricanes is that forward Jesper Fast is back practicing with the team. He has missed five games due to COVID-19 protocol.

–Field Level Media