RALEIGH — In the Season 1 finale of the TV show “Ted Lasso,” the AFC Richmond soccer club scores late in regulation to tie the game with powerhouse Manchester City and seemingly avoid regulation. The team celebrates after having accomplished the unthinkable.
Then in the next sequence, Manchester City — led by former Richmond star Jamie Tartt — scores a stunning goal to beat Lasso’s team and turn the celebration into despair.
The episode is named “The Hope That Kills You.”
There wasn’t that much on the line Thursday for the Carolina Hurricanes — instead the powerhouse team in this scenario against the bottom-dwelling Ottawa Senators. Yes, coach Rod Brind’Amour’s team had lost three of four and scored two or fewer goals in eight of its last 12, but Carolina was still near the top of the NHL standings despite battling a COVID outbreak that has sidelined all three of the team’s usual right-handed defensemen.
The Hurricanes’ rally against the Senators, scoring twice in less than two minutes of the game’s final eight minutes to erase a two-goal deficit, left the team and the 14,915 fans at PNC Arena on cloud nine. Maybe, perhaps, the scoring funk that had stymied the Hurricanes much of the past two weeks was over?
That made the fall back to Earth even harder.
Ottawa forward Josh Norris benefited from Carolina defenseman Ian Cole sliding into and knocking the puck past goaltender Antti Raanta just 19 seconds after Andrei Svechnikov had tied the game, giving the Senators a 3-2 win and sending the Hurricanes to their third straight loss.
“It’s a tough time right now, just mentally, because nothing’s going our way,” Brind’Amour said following the loss. “Let’s just be frank: nothing is going our way. No one’s gonna feel sorry for you, and we’re not asking for that. The key is just you got to stay positive here. No point feeling sorry for yourself. Keep working.”
For the second straight game, the Hurricanes dominated every aspect of the game except the scoreboard, outshooting Ottawa 49-20. But like Tuesday’s game in Dallas when Stars goalie Braden Holtby fended off Carolina’s attack, Senators goalie Anton Forsberg — a former Hurricanes goalie — managed to keep the home team off the board for 52 minutes.
That is until the Hurricanes’ struggling power play ended an eight-game drought with a goal at 12:02 of the third period.
Teuvo Teravainen got his 100th career goal, one-timing a Sebastian Aho pass to the right faceoff dot past Forsberg (career-high 47 saves) to get Carolina on the board.
Just 1:45 later, Svechnikov scored by jamming a loose puck in — after Seth Jarvis had redirected an Aho point shot — to tie the game.
“When when we scored the second one, it was kind of relief come down,” Svechnikov said.
The euphoria was short-lived, with Jordan Staal and Cole losing a board battle in the neutral zone off the ensuing faceoff to create a 2-on-1. Raanta stopped Norris’ initial shot, but Cole’s desperate dive to break up the play led him to crash into the goal crease, knocking both Raanta and the puck into the net to give Ottawa the winning goal.
“He was trying to come back and help me,” Raanta said of Cole, “and it hits his skate and goes in. It’s just unfortunate bad luck.”
It was the second time the Senators had scored following a collision with Raanta.
After jumping ahead just 2:43 into the game on a rush past Carolina’s Brendan Smith, Ottawa’s Alex Formenton got his second goal of the night at 9:05 of the third period when he crashed the net to try and get a Tyler Ennis rebound and was taken off his skates, sliding skates first into Raanta.
The loose puck then went in off Carolina’s Martin Necas and was ruled a goal. But the refs gathered and changed their minds, determining Raanta had been interfered with. That led Senators coach D.J. Smith to challenge the play, and the play was overturned a second time and called a good goal to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead.
“I think it kind of sums up the whole game,” Raanta said. “Nothing really went our way. Obviously, we played well enough to win this hockey game.”
Carolina still mounted a comeback, only to be served a subsequent crushing loss.
Brind’Amour, much like the bright-sided Lasso on the show, had nothing but positive things to say about his team’s effort despite the continuing disappointing end results.
“I’m proud of the group right now in that game, I’ll be honest with you,” he said. “I’m disappointed for them because I know how they feel. That’s a tough way to lose when you score two on your own goal. … It’s a tough loss, but wake up tomorrow and we’ll get at it again.”
Notes: Jordan Martinook left for the locker room twice, the second time for good, after suffering a lower-body injury. Brind’Amour said it was “some sort of problem in his ankle area.” … Defensemen Max Lajoie and Jalen Chatfield each played their second games with the Hurricanes this season and were again effective, logging 14:54 and 15:07, respectively, while paired together and dominating possession when on the ice. … Vincent Trocheck’s point drought is now at eight games. … Teravainen had eight shots on goal, matching a career-high he had set back in 2015 with the Blackhawks. … Jaccob Slavin played 29:30, the highest total in a regulation game of his career and the third-highest amount of time behind two overtime losses.