Hurricanes see big lead slip away in opening night loss to Jets

WINNIPEG, MB – For many teams in the NHL, finding a way to win takes skill and determination, but for the Carolina Hurricanes, they had a good chance to win it’s season opener on the road in Winnipeg tonight against the Jets, but it would slip away, as the Jets not only tied the game in regulation, but won it on Mark Scheifele’s goal in overtime to give Winnipeg a 5-4 come-from-behind win in front of their hometown fans at the MTS Centre.

“It was a good start for sure, we gave up too much shots in the first period, and it was too loose.” said Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters. “They(Winnipeg) were a quicker team throughout the night, and we weren’t as competitive at the pace of the game at times.”

The first period would get off to a good start for Winnipeg, as Shawn Matthias would bank a shot off of Cam Ward’s shoulder behind the goal line to put the Jets on top 1-0 at 4:14 of the first period of action, until the 11:23 mark of the first, as Jeff Skinner would deliver the equalizer, after Lee Stempniak would strip Josh Morrissey of the puck behind Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and found Skinner to shoot the puck home on his second attempt for his first goal of the season.

In the second period, the Canes would claim the lead courtesy of Stempniak, who would score his first goal as a Hurricane at 4:47 of the second period via the power play, as a point shot from Noah Hanifin bounced off his leg and found the back of the goal for his second point of the night, after earning an assist on Skinner’s goal back in the first, and with less than 31 seconds remaining in the second period of action, Jordan Staal’s unassisted goal would make it a 3-1 edge for Carolina, amid protests from the Jets, who claimed that Dustin Byfuglien was impeded in the shot by Brian Bickell.

Carolina would add on to it’s lead in the third, as Victor Rask would capitalize on the Hurricane power play(CAR finished the game 2-for-4 on the man advantage), at 5:02  to give the Hurricanes a 4-1 lead, but Winnipeg would claw right back into the game, as Blake Wheeler would score shorthanded at 5:11 of to cut it to a 4-2 game, setting the stage for what would be one of those season opening nail-biters.  Patrik Laine notched his first NHL goal at 16:33 of the third period, and at 18:31 of the period, Mathieu Perreault would make it a 4-4 game, bringing the 15,296 that were in attendance in Winnipeg back to life.

In the extra frame, Scheifele’s goal would be the eventual game-winner with less than 2:19 left in overtime to give the Jets the 5-4 win.

Cam Ward took the loss in the start for the Hurricanes, allowing 5 goals on 26 shots while making 21 saves, while Hellebuyck got his first win, making 23 saves on 27 shots.

Carolina will continue its road trip on Sunday night in Vancouver, as they square off against Henrik and Daniel Sedin and the rest of the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena(10:00 p.m., FOX Sports Carolinas, Hurricanes Radio Network).