With the Hurricanes 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night in Raleigh, the Canes assured themselves at least the #12 slot for the upcoming NHL draft and draft lottery. They also either stayed behind or fell behind the Flyers and the Jets which could push the Hurricanes as high as #10 in the draft pecking order.
Bryan Bickell also returned to the ice at PNC Arena for the first time since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on November 11.
And that is the extent of the good news from Thursday’s match up against the Islanders.
Recap of Hurricanes 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders
The Hurricanes started slow and Eddie Lack possibly even slower. Brock Nelson put the Islanders on the score board while people were still finding their seats only 1:27 into the first period, and Scott Mayfield followed it up only 3:12 later. The first goal happened when Noah Hanifin went lackadaisically to a puck on the end wall, lost it despite being there first and then mostly watched as the puck moved quickly to the front of the net and through a mess in front and past Lack. The second goal happened when Lack spit out 1 of the many rebounds he allowed early, and it found Mayfield parked in front of the net without a Canes defender to stop him. He quickly deposited the puck in the net to get the Isles off and running at 2-0. The Hurricanes never really recovered. The Isles had the ice tilted for much of the first period, but the Hurricanes survived the rest of it and exited the first period down 2-0.
The third goal came only 0:39 into the second period and seemed to send the Hurricanes to their far earlier than necessary. Former-Cane Andrew Ladd fired what looked like a fairly harmless shot from the top of the face-off circle off a rush and beat Lack cleanly. Lack seemed to settle down to some degree, and the Hurricanes stopped the bleeding and pushed back to a moderate degree peppering Isles’ goalie Jaroslav Halak with 15 shots in the second period. But the shots were too much of the harmless variety and the Hurricanes seemed to be going through motions a bit once they fell behind 3-0.
The third period was equally forgettable, and the Hurricanes ultimately lost 3-0 in a sluggish outing. Sure there are more details, but the simpler description is that the last half of the game felt like that of a team playing out the string.
‘What I’m watching’ follow up
If you missed the game preview and want to catch up, you can find it HERE.
1) Andrew Poturalski
He logged his ice time on the fourth line again on Thursday just like in his debut on Tuesday. He had a couple heady pass attempts in 12:22 of ice time, but none connected. In total, I would rate his second game in the NHL as ‘meh’ which is actually a step up from many of his teammates on Thursday.
2) Justin Faulk
I was hoping for a goal or 2 to give Faulk a chance to reach 20 which is a nice target for a defenseman. No such luck. The Hurricanes had 3 power plays and Faulk did have a near miss on a shot just wide of the net, but he did not ultimately notch goal #18.
3) Jeff Skinner
He had a couple moments, but finally had a quieter night in total.
4) Bryan Bickell
Good for him, making his NHL return! Keeping with his game of going to the front of the net, he had 3-4 chances and/or near misses that could have turned into a goal, but it just was not to be for him or the Hurricanes on Thursday.
The effort level and level of play was disappointing. I will just leave it at that.
The scoreboard: As noted above, the night was actually a good 1 in terms of looking forward to the future. With the loss and a Winnipeg win, the Hurricanes now sit at #10 for draft order up from #14 before the recent swoon.
Next up is the home finale on Saturday. Here is hoping that the Hurricanes show up for the last home game in fan appreciation week before the season quietly rides off into the sunset on Sunday in Philadelphia.