Sports

The Canes needed at least a point in the tough 3-2 OT loss to the Calgary Flames

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek, left, of the Czech Republic, grabs for the puck as Calgary Flames’ Derek Ryan closes in during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek, left, of the Czech Republic, grabs for the puck as Calgary Flames’ Derek Ryan closes in during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP) AP

Observations from the Carolina Hurricanes’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday:

-- The Canes desperately needed to come out of the game with at least a point given the energy expended and quality start -- and some dazzling saves -- from goalie Petr Mrazek. It took a 6-on-5 goal by Sebastian Aho to get it but the Canes then needed to steal a win given where they are in the Eastern Conference standings. As Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said, “Unfortunately we’ve had too many of those results, playing like that.”

-- Good to see some sheer emotion flow out of Aho and Teuvo Teravainen when the Canes tied the score late with the extra attacker. The Canes’ goal celebrations can be a bit muted at times but not that time, after Teravainen’s perfect pass to Aho in front. Also nice to see both appeared dejected after the game, saying all the right things to the media but their eyes giving away their disappointment in not winning.

-- Overtimes continue to vex the Canes. Aho lost the opening faceoff to Mikael Backlund, there was a defensive breakdown and Backlund took a pass from TJ Brodie and walked in to beat Mrazek just 15 seconds into the OT. “Obviously we screwed up there,” Brind’Amour said. Possession is everything in overtimes, which once were wild and free-wheeling and have become a hockey version of the Princeton offense in hoops.

-- Micheal Ferland leaving another Canes game with an “upper-body” injury was worrisome. Brind’Amour said he “tweaked” something, meaning the forward was not having a recurrence of concussion symptoms. The All-Star Game break and bye week are coming just when Ferland needs it most.

-- With defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Ferland returning to Calgary for the first time since the June trade to Carolina, Brind’Amour was asked Monday about Hamilton’s play and said, “We’re still trying to figure him out and need to get more out of him.” Hamilton gave the Canes more Tuesday. Yes, he scored but it might have been his best game of the season.

-- The Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau is fun to watch and was magical with the puck, even as the Canes held him without a point for the first time since Dec. 28. He could win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player. And the Flames’ Bill Peters could win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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