Joni Pitkanen scored the lone goal in a game in which the Hurricanes failed to take revenge on the team that, just under four months ago, claimed their spot in the postseason. Tomas Fleischmann tallied two goals for the Capitals.
Neither team’s offensive juggernauts dressed for the game – Eric Staal and Rod Brind’Amour sat out, and Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom didn’t make the trip to Raleigh – though Washington had no trouble generating offense. Most of Carolina’s core defensemen were in the line-up, and all had NHL experience.
Instead of pointing fingers at the team's defense or youth, Laviolette criticized the overall worth ethic.
“More concerning was the fact that we got outcompeted for about 50 minutes,” head coach Peter Laviolette said.
Most concerning of all is that the preseason injury bug seems to have attacked the Hurricanes yet again. Tim Gleason, the team’s No. 1 stay-at-home defenseman, left with a leg injury and didn’t return. Laviolette that the leg is being evaluated, but that “it’s probably going to be a little bit of time.”
Laviolette praised Pitkanen, making his first appearance as a ‘Cane, but few others - not a good thing to hear if you have yet to secure a roster spot.
“I thought Jeff (O’Neill) started strong, and then the game just started to get sloppy,” Laviolette said. "I didn’t think he was bad, but everyone needed to be better.”
Despite the growing rivalry between the two Southeastern division teams and the large number of players trying to prove themselves, no fights broke out. Ryan Bayda and Matt Murley played well and Scott Walker looked particularly refreshed, even though he was skating alongside guys who were nearly half his age.
Cam Ward split goaltending duties with Justin Peters. Both allowed two goals, and Ward was disappointed by his own performance.
“At the end of the day it was just an exhibition game, but we definitely wanted to put forth a stronger effort,” Ward said.
The Canes will have a chance to rebound immediately, as they travel to face the Capitals again tomorrow night.
“Obviously we’ve got to get a little more work ethic, but that will come,” team hopeful Brandon Sutter said. “I don’t think we have to worry about it."