Hurricanes manage a point in lackluster effort

After bye week, Carolina out of sync in 2-1 OT loss to league-worst Colorado

James Guillory—X02835
Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters reacts during a Feb. 3 game against Edmonton. Carolina lost 2-1 in overtime to Colorado Friday at PNC Arena.

RALEIGH — Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was grateful to have the one point the team was awarded in the 2-1 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday at PNC Arena.”There’s not many nights you can play like that and get a point,” he said.The Hurricanes, playing for the first time since last Saturday after completing their “bye week,” looked everything like a team that hadn’t competed for nearly a week — even against the NHL-worst Avalanche.Rookie Mikko Rantanen got the game-winner for Colorado, finishing off a feed from Matt Duchene in overtime to give the Avalanche their first road win since Dec. 23.The Hurricanes (24-22-8) failed to show rhythm in any part of their game except the penalty kill, which stopped Colorado on all three of its chances — including two full minutes of 4-on-3 time to start overtime — and was arguably Carolina’s most dangerous offensive unit.”We didn’t skate, we didn’t move the puck, we didn’t execute,” Peters said. “Everything was in the feet, guys are falling and slipping and sliding. There’s no timing, that’s what it looks like to me as a coach.”There certainly wasn’t any timing on the power play, where Carolina managed just three shots in four minutes on the man-advantage and never really threatened Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (28 saves), who was starting for the second consecutive night after losing 2-0 in Buffalo on Thursday.”We’re definitely going to need it,” Jeff Skinner, the lone Carolina goal scorer, said of getting the power play going down the stretch. “But I don’t know. I think it’s something we oughta keep working at. Obviously for the last little while it’s been struggling, so hopefully we can turn that around. I think we’ll find ways to keep working at it.”It was a listless first period for Carolina, and they got behind when Colorado (16-38-2) scored first. Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie opened the scoring at 13:48 of the first, wristing a shot past Carolina goalie Cam Ward (34 saves) after defenseman Ron Hainsey was taken down in front of him by Duchene. But Carolina found life in the final minute of the first.Coming up the left wing, Skinner wound up and took a big slap shot from a bad angle that trickled through Colorado goalie Pickard’s five hole and into the net with 48.5 left in the opening frame to tie it up. It was Skinner’s team-leading 19th goals of the season.But that was all the scoring Carolina would manage. Skinner found the back of the net again nearly midway through the third, but the play was blown dead after Lee Stempniak was called for slashing — the infraction that triggered Skinner’s chance.Both power plays faltered throughout the night, and the biggest opportunity came at the start of overtime. Justin Faulk was called for tripping right at the end of regulation — Colorado still had a last-second 2-on-1, but Jarome Iginla was stopped by Ward — that set up two full minutes of 4-on-3 for Colorado.The Carolina PK was up to the task, allowing just one shot — which Ward swallowed without allowing a rebound — and ended the kill with an odd-man rush they were unable to convert.It was the last of several shorthanded chances Carolina generated, but outside of the team’s top line of Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, and fourth line of Jay McClement, Viktor Stalberg and Joakim Nordstrom, the Hurricanes generated little.”Not much out of the middle at all,” Peters said of his other two lines centered by Teuvo Teravainen and Victor Rask.But Peters seemed to indicate it’s too late in the season for line tinkering and it’s now up to the players who are struggling to find another gear to shake out of their funk.”I’m going to have to watch it again, but what are you going to change, right?” Peters said of potential changes to lines for Sunday’s pivotal home game against Toronto. “Eventually those guys that aren’t getting it done or maybe aren’t quite generating as much as they should need to step up too, right? That would be the best solution to the problem that we have with a lack of offense.”Carolina’s loss pushed the record of teams playing their first post-bye game to 3-9-2.”What everybody said was going to happen, happened,” Peters said.Notes: Barrie led all players with seven shots on goal, while Staal finished with a team-high six for Carolina. … Rask won just 3 of 11 faceoffs, and Peters pointed to his struggles at the dot as a contributing factor to his 11-game point drought. … Brett Pesce, who was a game-time decision due to illness, earned an assist on Skinner’s goal. Stempniak received the other. … Stalberg, who played a team-low 11:10, finished with three shots on goal. … Stempniak and Ryan, who each took an unnecessary penalty in the game, were the only Hurricanes not to register a shot attempt.