Rod Brind’Amour has done his best to stay positive this season, his first as the Carolina Hurricanes head coach.
But there wasn’t much good to say Saturday, after a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. There was little positive spin to this one.
“Tonight was probably, I don’t know how many games we’ve played, the game I didn’t like the most of all of them,” Brind’Amour said. “It was a grind game. There wasn’t a lot going on for either team. But we’ve got to start finding ways to put the puck in the net, and that’s been the challenge here.”
Since a 4-0-1 start, the Canes have gone 2-6-1 in dropping back to 6-6-2. The Canes rallied Friday against the Arizona Coyotes in the first game of their road trip to squeeze out a point in a 4-3 overtime loss, but could not get the puck past Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
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Fleury’s shutout was his second of the season and 50th of his career. Defenseman Brad Hunt scored the game-winning goal. The Canes had 34 shots and could not find the net. Those were the pertinent details of an otherwise forgettable game.
“I don’t think either team did much in front of the net,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s one of those games both teams were working hard. They got the better of us.”
Hunt’s goal was his first of the season, the D-man pinching down into the slot for an open shot at 14:11 of the first.
“That put us back on our heels a little bit,” Brind’Amour said.
Ryan Reaves won a battle in front to score for Vegas in the second and William Carrier scored early in the third against Canes goalie Scott Darling, who had 22 saves.
Later in the third, the Canes’ Justin Williams was called for batting the puck into the net with his hand, a call upheld on review.
If there was a positive for the Canes, it was killing off all four penalties. Carolina was last in the NHL on the penalty kill.
Forward Micheal Ferland also was active for the Canes in the game with six shots -- and another attempt off the post -- and eight hits.
The Canes’ trip continues with a game Tuesday in St. Louis and then at Chicago on Thursday against the Blackhawks.
“It’s a gutcheck for the group to stay with your game,” Brind’Amour said.. “You can do one of two things: you can feel sorry for yourself and hang your head, and nobody cares about that. We’ll just go back to work and try to get better.”