The Carolina Hurricanes will try again Thursday.
That’s all the Canes can do – lace up the skates, take the ice and go at it again.
The Canes had little time to absorb, analyze or fret about a 6-5 shootout loss Wednesday to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. In the second half of a back-to-back, they face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at the Staples Center.
But it could have been a sleepless night Wednesday for the Canes. Carolina (10-10-6) had the lead much of the game against the Ducks and led 5-3 with less than five minutes left in regulation, but couldn’t finish.
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A Nick Ritchie tip, a Corey Perry goal, and the Ducks tied it in the third. In overtime, the Canes first killed off a 4-on-3 power play by the Ducks, then had a chance to win with 45 seconds left. Sebastian Aho got off a shot that Ducks goalie John Gibson managed to stop with his glove, and Teuvo Teravainen, who had scored twice, fanned on a rebound with the puck at his feet.
The Ducks, who had not won a game this season (0-9-4) when trailing after two periods, were the heavier, more aggressive team in the third period. They kept the puck in the Carolina zone much of the period, pinching their defensemen and crowding goalie Cam Ward around the crease.
Canes coach Bill Peters likes to say that “3” is a big number in the NHL – that is, score three times and your chances of winning are high. But not this night as the Canes fell to 3-7-6 on the road this season.
Three days after shutting out Tampa Bay 1-0, the Canes scored five times but couldn’t hold back the Ducks. Ward, coming off a 30-save shutout, gave up five goals on 38 shots, and the Canes weren’t consistent enough in sorting out things in the defensive zone.
“I thought at times we did a real good job of controlling the tempo of the game and had the puck a lot,” Peters said. “But we need to be better defensively and better awareness away from the puck.”
The Ducks’ Stefan Noesen scored his first NHL goal in the second period when he waltzed into the Carolina zone unchecked for an open shot in the slot. Perry got a good look and buried his shot to tie the score with 2:28 left in regulation and end an 18-game scoring drought.
Teravainen’s line, with Aho and Lee Stempniak, was dangerous much of the game. Teravainen, held without a goal for nine games, scored his sixth and seventh of the season while Aho scored on a breakaway off a Stempniak pass for his fourth and also had the Canes’ only shootout goal.
“I thought they had good chemistry,” Peters said. “You could tell the jump they had right away.”
Peters did not use Teravainen in the shootout, going with Aho, Jaccob Slavin and Jeff Skinner. Gibson stopped Slavin and Skinner, making Ondrej Kase’s shootout goal the winner for the Ducks.
The Canes are 1-3 in shootouts this season, and Ward 16-38 in his career. Skinner now is 6-for-34 on shootout shots (Slavin 3-for-6). Aho’s shootout attempt was his first in the NHL.
For Peters, the big decision for Thursday is whether to play Ward again in net or go with backup goalie Michael Leighton. The Canes finish the three-game road trip Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, a team that Ward blanked 1-0 on Nov. 15 at PNC Arena.
Forward Elias Lindholm may be ready to rejoin the lineup Thursday after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Center Jordan Staal did not make the trip as he recovers from a concussion.
There’s not much turnaround time for the Kings game in terms of preparation.
“Just play,” Peters said. “It’s outstanding. A short, little bus ride and then you play.
“I think this is only our fourth of 16 back-to-backs. Everybody does it in the league. We look forward to the challenge.”