In a season of firsts for Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, there was another one on Sunday.
This time, not a good one.
The Canes were beaten 3-1 by the Winnipeg Jets, ending their four-game winning streak and giving Brind’Amour his first regulation loss as a head coach.
Bryan Little’s goal off the rush at 17:51 of the third period gave the Jets a 2-1 lead, and Kyle Connor added an empty-netter in the final second for the final margin. But the Jets’ biggest star was backup goalie Laurent Brossoit, who made 42 saves and was the difference in the game at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
Regulation losses are the worst -- zero points gained. The Canes (4-1-1) played hard and for the most part well much of the game, and goalie Petr Mrazek made some athletic, amazing saves, once stopping a two-on-none rush by the Jets.
But Brossoit was better this night. The only Canes goal came on a tap-in by Micheal Ferland after a Dougie Hamilton shot in the third -- Sebastian Aho earning an assist to extend his point streak to six games.
Little’s goal came not long after the Canes iced the puck. The Canes’ Andrei Svechnikov cleared the zone but failed to get the puck deep enough during a line change, and the Jets quickly counterattacked and Little scored.
“Those the ones that hurt a little bit but it’s a learning experience,” Brind’Amour said. “We had some mistakes by our young guys that cost us. That one at the end, we didn’t quite get it out far enough. We always talk about we’re fighting for inches and we didn’t get it out far enough and they come back and counter. It’s a tough learning lesson for these young guys but we believe in them and we move on.
“Everyone says that’s a team that’s up for the Stanley Cup. I didn’t feel like we were over-matched. We were hanging in there with them and probably had some opportunities to win the game. Overall, I’m happy with the effort for sure.”
Brossoit faced 18 shots in the first period, 32 in the first two and 43 in all. Mrazek had 24 saves, 13 in the second period when he made some spectacular stops.
The Jets scored the game’s first goal in the third after Jordan Staal’s shot smacked squarely into the post. Staal soon was called for a penalty and the Jets converted on the power play as Patrik Laine ripped a shot from the left circle at 4:14 of the third.
The Canes were in the back-half of a back-to-back set, having rallied Saturday to beat the Minnesota Wild in overtime, 5-4. The three-game road trip will end Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brind’Amour had notched his first victory as a head coach and had his first winning streak. He was the first head coach in franchise history to earn points in the first five games of the season. Now comes the first “L.”