A patched-up up Carolina Hurricanes roster suffered a 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec on Monday.
Earlier in the day, President and General Manager Jim Rutherford had announced call-ups from the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate club, the Charlotte Checkers, as a result of recent injuries to some of the team’s starters.
Defensemen Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen were both placed on the team’s injured reserve list retroactive to Feb. 12 with lower-body injuries, while forwards Riley Nash and Jeremy Welsh were recalled to join the team before it faced off against the Canadiens.
The recalls up front were necessary as forward Jeff Skinner (upper-body injury) didn’t make the trip while center Tim Brent sat out after the morning skate according to onsite sources, and required head coach Kirk Muller to make adjustments to the line combinations that have earned the team exceptional success so far this season.
Having earned points in their past six games, the Hurricanes had intentions on maintaining their consistency, but fell short of meeting that expectation.
“We just gotta’ forget this one,” Muller said afterwards.
“The guys have been goin’ good, they’ve been goin’ hard, but it’s a little wake-up call. If we don’t skate, win battles, you’re not going to get the same results.”
As both teams skated to a 0-0 tie after the first two periods of play, it looked as though Carolina was capable of extending its current run of success heading into the final period, even while shooting well below its average of 34.9 shots per game.
Never able to recover
However, it was the Canadiens who got the upper hand, scoring the first goal of the game early in the final period of play to take a 1-0 lead.
Montreal outshot the Hurricanes 26-19 for the game, and played a defensive game that slowed Carolina’s offensive momentum throughout.
“We didn’t have it,” Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said.
“They play a system where they lull you to sleep. We didn’t have enough jump, and enough energy that we’ve played with the last little while.”
The Canadiens added to their lead scoring back-to-back goals just 18 seconds apart, and with less than eight minutes to play in the game, secured the win from that point on.
“We didn’t have that killer instinct,” Muller said.
“We didn’t have that shooting mentality. We weren’t attacking like we normally do. We just didn’t have our best game tonight.”
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