Rod Brind’Amour didn’t mince words or turn to coachspeak Saturday after the Carolina Hurricanes’ 4-1 road loss to the New York Islanders.
“We wouldn’t have beaten a minor-league team,” the Canes coach said. “That’s what we looked like out there tonight.”
Playing their third game in four days and the second in a back-to-back, the Canes had little jump in the game at the Barclays Center in New York. Goalie Scott Darling, getting his first start in four games, allowed goals on the first two shots. The defense was spotty. There was no offensive push.
“We just didn’t come ready to go, from the get-go,” Brind’Amour said. “We knew what they were going to do. We talked about it, had a game plan. Then from the first shift on didn’t do it at all.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Defenseman Trevor Carrick, recalled Friday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL after Haydn Fleury suffered a concussion against Florida, dropped the gloves for some fisticuffs with Ross Johnston in the second period. That didn’t awaken the Canes, either, who had a three-game win streak end.
“We wanted to keep moving forward but, man, I’ve never seen us play that bad,” Brind’Amour said. “That was poor, to a man. We didn’t come ready to go and got what we deserved.”
Justin Williams had the only goal, scoring on the power play in the third period off a Lucas Wallmark pass. By then the Isles led 4-0 and soon finished off their third win over Carolina this season.
Thomas Greiss, a goalie who continues to frustrate the Canes, had 26 saves for the Islanders (12-8-2), who moved past Carolina (11-9-3) in the Metropolitan Division standings. Josh Bailey finished with a goal and assist, and Val Filppula and Anthony Beauvillier had the first-period goals for the 2-0 lead.
“They capitalized on mistakes we gave them and then they just hunkered down,” Brind’Amour said. “They knew we weren’t fighting through anything. We made it pretty easy on them.
“We didn’t play our game. We didn’t get pucks to the net. We decided to be cute. It doesn’t work.”
Brind’Amour tweaked the lines during the game, moving Sebastian Aho to the wings for a few shifts. “It didn’t matter,” he said.
In another scheduling quirk, the Canes will play one game in the next five days — at Montreal on Tuesday.
“We better learn quick, otherwise we’re never going to move to where we want to,” Brind’Amour said. “We want to be a team that’s competitive every night. I know the mental fatigue was there tonight. We were not sharp. That’s what happens in this league occasionally but that’s what being a pro is and learning how to battle through back-to-back nights with travel. Everyone does it.”
The Islanders also had a road game Friday — in New Jersey, against the Devils.