RALEIGH — For most of two periods, the Carolina Hurricanes looked like one of the NHL’s best teams. And then they suddenly seemed more like a team that hadn’t played in nine days.
Carolina entered the third period tied, but miscues, a sloppy power play and Rangers forward Artemi Panarin’s four goals cost the Hurricanes their seven-game winning streak in a 6-2 loss to New York in front of a standing room-only crowd at PNC Arena.
“The stuff we were giving up were just Grade-A’s, like either breakaways or 2-on-1s and stuff we can’t be doing,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “And then I thought in the third we just completely came off our game and what we really wanted to do, and then it just got really sloppy and ugly at that point.”
Through two periods, Carolina outshot New York 25-13 and was seemingly in control until Panarin got his first goal of the night with just over two minutes left in the the middle frame.
Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce’s exit pass was deflected by partner Brady Skjei, leading to an odd-man rush for New York. Vincent Trocheck — playing in his first game at PNC Arena since signing with the Rangers in the offseason — deferred to Panarin, who cleanly beat the glove of Frederik Andersen (13 saves) to make it 2-2 at 17:49.
“That tying goal for them late in the second was, that one’s a tough one,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We have full possession, there’s no real stress on us and we turn it over to the wrong players.”
Panarin then took over in the third,
The go-ahead goal, his second of the night, came when Pesce’s pass in the defensive zone was stolen by Trocheck, who fed the puck to defenseman Braden Schneider. Andersen made the initial save but kicked the rebound right to Panarin, who fired it in the net at 4:33 of the period to give New York a 3-2 lead.
The Hurricanes did still have chances to get back in the game.
With just under 14 minutes left in the game, Teuvo Teravainen sprung Sebastian Aho on a partial breakaway up the right wing, but Jaroslav Halak (27 saves) made a sprawling stop to keep the Rangers ahead.
Panarin was then called for hooking just at 11:43 of the third, giving Carolina its second power play of the night.
But unlike New York, which scored in the first period on its lone power play of the game, the Hurricanes’ special teams sputtered, managing just one shot on goal on its late opportunity and snapping a four game streak of scoring and any chance at in-game momentum.
“The power play had a big opportunity to get us back in it, big save on (Aho’s) breakaway — stuff like that just kind of turned it in the third,” Staal said. “And then we kind of just started getting loose and we stopped playing our style.”
That opened the floodgates for Panarin, who got his third goal on a breakaway with 4:01 remaining for his fourth career hat trick and first in more than three years. His last was Dec. 12, 2019.
After Kaapo Kakko got his 11th goal into an empty net with 2:24 left to make it 5-2, Panarin capped off the first four-goal game of his career with a spinning shot from the slot that beat Andersen with 64 seconds remaining.
“A new day is a new day,” Staal said. “We need to get better, and we’re going to learn from what we did tonight and how we can get better.”
Notes: Panarin also assisted on Zibanejad’s power play goal, giving him the fourth five-point game of his career. … Teravainen scored his sixth goal of the season for Carolina, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi got his eighth. … Both Skjei and Pesce finished minus-4. It is the first time in Pesce’s career he’s had a minus-4, and Skjei had just once before — a 7-2 loss to the Islanders on Jan. 13, 2018, when he was with the Rangers. … Aho’s goal and point streak was snapped at six games. … Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov, who assisted on Kotkaniemi’s goal, has six assists in his last five games. … Carolina defenseman Jalen Chatfield was plus-2 for the second straight game and is a team-best plus-17 on the season.