RALEIGH — The Hurricanes entered the holiday break with a loss, losing 5-4 to the visiting Islanders on Saturday at PNC Arena.
Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho, Jaccob Slavin and Stefan Noesen scored for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov allowed five goals on 28 shots for his first regulations loss in six starts.
1. The game before the holiday break can be a tough one for teams. Families are probably starting to trickle into town, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel before three days off without a game.
The Hurricanes weren’t allowing that to be an excuse after the loss.
“I think should be almost the opposite, you know,” Carolina’s Aho said, “leave it all out there. I don’t know. I didn’t find it hard to keep focus in-game, and it shouldn’t affect at all.”
Still, the Hurricanes looked listless at times — a microcosm of the season so far.
“I think we’ve played better than a record,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of the team being 17-13-4 heading into the holiday break. “I think we probably deserved more points out of some of this stuff. But we haven’t done it, so we’re in a tough spot.”
2. What does Andrei Svechnikov need to do to have a call go his way?
After a phantom holding call on him in overtime against the Penguins on Thursday — you could argue Sidney Crosby should have been the one going to the box on that play — Svechnikov was again on the wrong side of a penalty early against the Islanders.
As Svechnikov drove to the net on Islanders defenseman Mike Reilly, he was knocked off his skates on an attempted sweep check. Despite a replay showing Reilly took out Svechnikov at the legs, no penalty was called.
The Islanders went the other way and opened the scoring with Sebastian Aho’s (the other one) first goal of the season at 11:29 of the first.
“We’ve seen it a long time,” Brind’Amour said of calls going against Svechnikov. “Two games in a row where we’ve really felt like it was a tough sell on that. But, I mean, what am I gonna say?”
The Hurricanes held a 4-3 advantage in power play opportunities, but it still felt like they were battling the refs all night.
3. Carolina also managed to score multiple goals on the power play for the fourth time in seven games, going 2 for 4. The first unit needed just 9 seconds to score early in the second period when Aho scored his 13th of the season off a feed from Michael Bunting. Then it came through in the third period to cut the Isles’ lead to one when a second unit goal by Noesen.
The Hurricanes’ power play is now up to 23.4% on the season, 10th in the league, and Carolina was also able to hold the Islanders’ sixth-ranked power play to no goals on three chances.
Number to know
40 — Shots on goal for the Hurricanes on Saturday, the third time this season Carolina has had at least that many against the Islanders. They had 46 in a 4-3 overtime win on Long Island on Nov. 4 and 43 in a 5-4 overtime loss at home on Nov. 30.
The Blue Jackets allowed 40 or more shots to the Hurricanes in all three of their meetings last season, but Carolina has never had four 40-shot games against one team in a season in franchise history.
The teams play once more this season, on March 19 in Belmont, New York.
Martin Necas, Hurricanes forward — Necas had one of his better games on Saturday. He was around the Islanders’ net much of the night, and he picked up two primary assists in the third period, circling the net and feeding Slavin for a one-timer and setting up Noesen for his power play goal.
He also scored in the third period, but the goal was immediately waved off when the refs determined he used a distinct kicking motion to knock the puck in. Replay confirmed the on-ice call.
Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes goalie — Kochetkov had been rock solid in his last five starts, but Saturday was a rough one. Kochetkov allowed five goals on 28 shots, a few of which he’d probably want back.
“We’re probably riding him a little too much,” Brind’Amour said of Kochetkov making his fifth straight start. “You could tell he wasn’t as good as, obviously, he’s been, and that was probably the difference.”
They said it
“I was out there for four goals tonight. And so that’s not my game and I gotta be better. ”
— Jaccob Slavin, Hurricanes defenseman