The Carolina Hurricanes were looking really good for much of this game and built a 4-1 lead early in the third period before falling apart later in their season opener. They ended up losing to the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4 in OT.
The Canes were out-shooting the home team the entire contest but a couple of key turnovers made things a bit too easy for the Jets. Carolina ended up with a 27-26 shots-on-goal advantage, despite losing.
Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak had a goal and an assist each to lead the team offensively.
Although, Skinner had a key turnover just nine seconds after a Victor Rask goal early in the third, when he tried to leave a drop pass to Noah Hanifin which was picked off by Blake Wheeler. The Jets Captain skated in all alone and scored on Cam Ward easily to make the score 4-2, and then the wheels fell off.
Rookie Patrik Laine scored his first career NHL goal on a powerplay laser shot which Ward was screened on, then Wheeler fed the puck in front of the net to two wide-open teammates for the game-tying tally with just 1:29 remaining.
In overtime, Justin Faulk could not control the puck at center ice and once again Wheeler took advantage. He skated the puck in and made a beautiful pass to Mark Scheifele for another easy goal and the game-winner.
The Canes were out-playing the Jets from the beginning but the home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a shot that got by Ward on the short side. Deflected or not, the goalie was too far off the post considering the angle of the shot.
The defeat was not necessarily Ward’s fault but it was not his best game either. The goalie finds himself in another hole to start off the season and for now has an .808 save percentage.
The Hurricanes were able to kill off a long 5-on-3 opportunity by Winnipeg in the opening period although the Jets hit the post twice on shots. The Jets finished last in the NHL last year on the powerplay but Laine should help solve that stat this season.
A loss like this is not unheard of for a young team but they still have some work to do. The Canes will try to put this one behind them quickly before their next game in Vancouver on Sunday night.