There, you’re all caught up and can move on to what actually needs to be discussed from this loss, which is the complete dumpster fire that the last five minutes of the third and all of overtime became as when the entire team, except for the preternatural Jeff Skinner, forgot they are professional hockey players and began to play like 12-year-olds who drank too many energy sodas.
The descent into “you have got to be kidding me” began at 9:19 of the third when the usually clear-headed Riley Nash took what has to be a candidate for Stupidest Penalty Of The Year when he blatantly boarded Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter. Nash laid a check — with his arm no less — that added nothing to the play, had zero benefit in the real world, and could only be explained by a story that Potter said something about Nash’s mother.
Taking a five-minute major during a massive comeback is stupid in and of itself, but to do something so spectacularly idiotic that it warrants a Game Misconduct is just dumb on an epic level. Don’t be surprised if Nash gets a phone call from Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan purely on general principle.
It remains true that Carolina was somehow able to kill off the five-minute major. It also remains true that those five minutes were a great chance for the Hurricanes to actually score, rather than kill a penalty. Yet once again, it was Skinner who decided to show up and actually play a little hockey — beating Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk cleanly on a long-distance sniper round to tie things up. So the Hurricanes head to overtime with momentum, right?
A mere 19 seconds into the overtime, Justin Faulk took it upon himself to go away on a two-minute minor for boarding. Only minutes prior, Nash was shown the showers for a nearly identical hit and in overtime, Faulk decided to put Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins into the boards for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
If the universe has justice in it, Faulk rode the bus back to the hotel by himself in complete silence. Giving Edmonton the man advantage in overtime did not lose the game for Carolina, however. Enter Cam Ward.
Ward is usually among the all-time greats in the clutch. However it was a flashback to November 23 against the Boston Bruins as Ward once again over-extended himself to the left during overtime, allowing plenty of daylight for an opposing skater. Whatever his issue with moving to the left in overtime is, it’s burned the team a second time.
While some losses are just a loss, Tuesday night in Edmonton deserved every single item of profanity shouted by every Hurricanes fan who bothered to stay awake for the travesty. Carolina should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for the mega-flop that happened. Two completely brainless penalties along with a Conn Smythe Trophy winning goaltender making the same pee-wee mistake he made weeks prior is what lost that game.
It would be prudent for head coach Kirk Muller to find whatever inner rage he’s been suppressing during his time on the Hurricanes bench and start flipping some tables, because the play in the third period and overtime was completely inexcusable.