The losses are beginning to mount for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The frustration continues to build and points continue to be squandered.
The power play doesn’t work. The Canes can’t score enough goals, can’t hold on to leads.
The Canes gave up the lead late in regulation Friday and lost 2-1 in a shootout at PNC Arena, extending their winless streak to five games.
“We had some good looks and some good chances and found a way to lose again,” Canes forward Kris Versteeg said.
The Canes’ only goal came from Brad Malone, a fourth-line winger. They had 86 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play but couldn’t find the net.
In the shootout, Carolina’s first of the season, Riley Nash did beat Leafs goalie James Reimer. But Reimer later stoned Elias Lindholm, whose late faceoff penalty set up a power-play score by Toronto’s Nazem Kadri with 3:33 left in regulation, and finally Nathan Gerbe to end it.
Joffrey Lupul, the fifth shooter for the Leafs, beat Canes goalie Cam Ward for the winner. Peter Holland began the shootout with a goal but Nash, up third for Carolina after Chris Terry and Jeff Skinner were stopped, gave the Canes some hope.
The Hurricanes (6-10-3) are 0-1-3 on a homestand Canes coach Bill Peters called “huge” with a game left Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Malone had been a healthy scratch the past four games but he came to compete Friday, finishing with a game-high seven hits. He hammered Leafs forward Byron Froese in the second – leaving the rookie bleeding – and also smacked defenseman Jake Gardiner.
“Just trying to bring some energy to the bench and the team,” Malone said.
And he scored. Taking a pass from Justin Faulk below the goal line extended, he whipped a sharp-angle shot that hit Reimer’s stick and bounced in for his first of the season.
“They were good,” Peters said of the fourth line of Malone, Gerbe and Jay McClement. “They were on the body, they spent time in the offensive zone, they gave us good minutes.”
Others were not so good. Lindholm had two penalties – a tripping call late in the second, then a delay-of-game call with 4:16 left in regulation when he pawed the puck after taking a draw.
The Leafs (7-9-4) scored four power-play goals in their last game, a 5-1 rout of Colorado, and Kadri’s goal was his second of the season.
Both teams had chances in overtime. Faulk had a pair of shots and Ward twice made stops on the Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf. Faulk was called for slashing but the Canes killed it off.
The Canes made franchise history with six American-born defensemen in the lineup. Jaccob Slavin, 21, made his NHL debut.
The game also was another matchup of two coaching friends, Peters and the Leafs’ Mike Babcock, and two teams with similar systems.
“Everything was hard-fought,” Peters said. “It was a tough game. I thought the effort was there.”
But not winning. For the Canes, that was not there.
“It’s something we’re got to figure out,” Versteeg said. “We’ve got to keep going. We’re playing good. A bounce here or there could help.”