RALEIGH — The Hurricanes are in another scoring funk.
After managing just one goal in Thursday’s win over Philadelphia, Carolina couldn’t even muster that in a 4-0 loss to the visiting Golden Knights in front of 18,813 Saturday at PNC Arena.
While the cause against the Flyers — a game in which they only managed a power play goal in a 1-0 win — was the Hurricanes frequently misfiring on scoring chances, Saturday’s struggles scoring was more about new Vegas goaltender Jonathan Quick. And some curious officiating.
In the third period alone, the Golden Knights benefited from a quick whistle that negated a Hurricanes goal and also a no-call when Carolina forward Seth Jarvis was tripped in the slot, leaving Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour seething on the bench.
“A couple games against them now where a couple of goals that maybe we scored (but) quick whistles,” said a drastically calmer Brind’Amour after the game. “But that happens throughout the year. And obviously that was a penalty on Jarvy. It happens. So we didn’t get (the calls) tonight, that was clear from the get-go it wasn’t gonna be our night.”
The Hurricanes weren’t free from blame. While Vegas was converting its chances, Carolina couldn’t.
First there was Quick, the longtime Kings goalie who made 33 saves — many spectacular — and improved to 3-0-0 since joining the Golden Knights.
“His numbers aren’t great this year, but he’s got that in him,” Brind’Amour said of Quick. “You know that. So unfortunately it was against us.”
And then there were plays like in the first period when Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho had an open net but hit the Vegas logo on Quick’s chest.
So after scoring 38 goals in the nine games before the Philadelphia win, the Hurricanes now have one — and zero at even strength — in the past 120 minutes.
“I thought we had a really good first period, actually, with chances,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s just we didn’t bury them, and they did.”
Vegas did that early on the eventual game-winner when forward Jonathan Marchessault was given too much space as he entered the Carolina zone, allowing him to get to the middle of the ice to snap a shot past Frederik Andersen (20 saves) for a 1-0 Golden Knights lead at 4:03 of the first.
The Golden Knights doubled their lead late in the second when Reilly Smith pushed the puck past Brent Burns and got around the Carolina defenseman for a clear path to Andersen, beating the Hurricanes goalie with a quick shot to extend the lead to 2-0 at 17:20 of the second period.
A Vegas 3-on-1 in the third, finished by Paul Cotter at 13:10, extended the lead to three. The Hurricanes pulled Andersen for an extra attacker with more than five minutes left, and the Golden Knights finally iced the game with 84 seconds left when Brett Howden shot into the empty net.
One bright spot for the Hurricanes was the debut of Jesse Puljujarvi, acquired Feb. 28 from Edmonton but playing his first game with his new team after clearing up his visa issues. Puljujarvi finished with three shots on goal in 12:47 of ice time, even getting an audition alongside longtime friend Aho when Andrei Svechnikov went to the locker room briefly with an apparent injury to his right leg.
“He’s a big kid, and he had a couple of chances tonight,” Brind’Amour said. “Again, it’s gonna take him some time to really feel comfortable with what we’re doing.”
Puljujarvi, with a smile as wide as ever even in a loss, said he felt like he is a match for the Hurricanes’ style.
“These guys really want everyone to play fast and skate really hard, and go to the blue paint and score there,” he said. “And I think I’m a good fit there and will try to be a really good player for this team and help these guys get those big wins.”
Notes: Aho finished with a game-high six shots, five of which were in the first period. … Every Vegas player finished with a positive plus/minus. … Quick got his first shutout with Vegas and second of the season, the last coming Nov. 8 against the Wild with the Kings. … Only two penalties were called in the game, once on each team.