Jordan Staal sat in the Carolina Hurricanes locker room Friday, trying to sort through the good and the bad.
The Canes had been beaten 3-2 in overtime by the Vancouver Canucks on Bo Horvat’s second goal of the game, ending a four-game winning streak that was Carolina’s longest of the season. For the Canes, that wasn’t good.
The Canes also had a sluggish start in their third game in four days. Again, not good.
But Carolina did score a late goal, as defenseman John-Michael Liles had a shot glance off the skate of Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski and into the net for a 2-2 tie.
“There’s definitely both sides,” Staal said. “We didn’t have a great first period. We weren’t moving our legs as much. We did a better job in the second and third and started taking over the game like we know we can. We found a way to get a point.”
Horvat’s winner, at 3:25 of overtime, came during a delayed penalty against the Canes. With a fourth attacker, the Canucks freed up Horvat for a shot in the right circle.
Kris Versteeg’s power-play goal late in the first period gave the Canes (20-18-8) a 1-1 tie but Carolina could not take advantage of a double minor against Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen, who high-sticked Justin Faulk with 37 seconds left in the first period.
Faulk was bloodied and the Canes had four minutes of power play time but couldn’t score as the Cancucks killed off both penalties.
“We need more of a killer instinct,” Jordan Staal said.
Horvat gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead about nine and a half minutes into the second with a shot that — like Linden Vey’s shot in the first period — beat Canes goalie Cam Ward to the short side. For a long time, that appeared to be the potential winner as goalie Jacob Markstrom continually stymied the Canes.
Markstrom finished with 38 saves, several high quality. Versteeg had a season-high six shots and was denied by Markstrom on a good scoring chance with seconds left in the second period.
The Canucks (18-17-10) had just 18 shots in regulation but four in the three-on-three overtime. Horvat scored on a shot from the right wing at three minutes, 25 seconds of the overtime for Vancouver, 3-8 this season in games decided in OT.
Horvat has eight goals this season, four against Carolina. He had two, including a late winner in regulation, in a 3-2 victory Jan. 6 in Vancouver.
The Canes had won their past two overtime games, against Columbus and Pittsburgh, and were coming off a solid 4-1 road win Thursday at St. Louis. Vancouver began a six-game road tripThursday with a 4-1 loss against the Washington Capitals.
Canes coach Bill Peters said the fatigue of a third game in four days was a factor but noted the Canes also were “chasing the game” and never led.
Jordan Staal said Peters used part of the first intermission as a video session to show the Canes how they were off their game.
“We got more committed as the game went along,” Peters said. “We weren’t committed to doing it right early.”
Forward Nathan Gerbe, activated off the injured list Friday, played his first game since an ankle injury Nov. 22 that kept him out of 25 games. It also was a milestone for defenseman Ron Hainsey, who played his 800th career game.
“I’m glad they stuck with it and were resilient,” Peters said. “We got really good looks through the last 40 minutes. I’m glad we stayed with it and found a way to get a point on a night where you don’t play a complete game.”