Hurricanes blow 3-goal lead, collapse in 5-3 loss to Jets

Carolina led 3-0 after two periods

Jets forward Alex Iafallo congratulates teammate Nino Niederreiter during Winnipeg's 5-3 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday in Raleigh. (Karl B. DeBlaker / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — The Hurricanes unraveled in the third period on Saturday, allowing five goals in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Jets. Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 28 saves in the loss.

Three observations

1. Saturday’s matinee loss can best be described as an epic collapse. Carolina scored three times in the second period to seize control of a game that was 0-0 after 20 minutes but then allowed five in the third period.

“A bit embarrassing. Real embarrassing,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “We’ve got to give ourselves a squeeze and man up and start playing hockey. We kind of just sat back and hoped it wasn’t gonna go the way it was going and it did. It was ugly.”

Winnipeg scored three times in the first 5:40 of the third, getting two in 84 seconds and then finally denting Carolina’s penalty kill with a goal by Mark Scheiefele on their fifth chance of the game.

Kochetkov’s reckless poke check attempt handed the Jets the winning goal with 3:13 left. Former Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter sealed the win with an empty-netter for his second goal of the game.

2. The Hurricanes penalty kill was a bright spot, allowing just five shots in four opportunities in the first two periods before finally allowing a goal on a broken play.

Carolina’s power play was elite in February, allowing just six goals on 38 opportunities (84.2%) over 12 games, but the Hurricanes didn’t have an edge in power play opportunities in any of those games, as was the case again Saturday.

Aho said the Hurricanes need to do more to stay out of the box.

“We can’t expect to kill 10 penalties a night,” he said, “so gotta be better there too.”

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, however, was quick to point out the constant power play discrepancy Carolina has faced.

“I think we’ve had 13 games in a row where we haven’t had more power plays than the other team,” he said.

3. The Hurricanes will have four full days to chew on their loss before hosting the Canadiens on Thursday. Then a day after the Montreal game is the trade deadline. That’s a lot to think about for the players.

“What’s the difference if you were playing?” Brind’Amour said before Saturday’s game when asked if the lack of games this week could make the impending trade deadline even more of a distraction. “They’d be thinking about it either way. It makes no difference. … I really don’t think it matters.”

Surely some of Carolina’s players are already thinking about it given that the Hurricanes popped up in trade rumors regarding Canucks center Elias Pettersson before Vancouver re-signed him to a blockbuster eight-year extension.

Any additions will change who gets to play, ice time and opportunity. It’s an anxious time for players.

Number to know

8 — Faceoffs wins for Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to just one loss on Saturday. It matched the most faceoffs he’s won in a game while losing one or fewer in his career — he was also 8 of 9 on Nov. 10, 2022, in Carolina’s 7-2 win over the visiting Oilers. Kotkaniemi was perfect against six different Jets, splitting two draws with David Gustafsson.


Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes center — Aho was the driving force for the Hurricanes on Saturday. On Teravainen’s goal, he powered through Jets center Sean Monahan to set up his countryman’s goal. He then got one of his own by driving to the far post and finishing a brilliant Andrei Svechnikov pass for a power play goal. Aho has now scored in five of the last seven games to up his season total to 24.


Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes goalie — Kochetkov was stellar in the first two periods and could hardly be blamed on two of the Jets’ first three goals. But he seemed unprepared for Kyle Connor’s quick one-timer early in the third period that got the Jets on the board, and his gamble to come out for a poke check late in regulation led to a tap-in for Monahan on what ended up being the winning goal.

“Let’s be honest,” Brind’Amour said, “he’s been so good and we love his aggressiveness because that’s part of his (game). But that maybe is not the time to do that.”

They said it

“If it was, that’s a brutal way to think.”

— Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho on if the team was complacent heading into the third period.