After a long (see: starting in April) offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes were back on the ice in a game that actually counts in the standings. The stink of last season has been mostly shed, and it feels great to be genuinely excited to watch some Canes hockey once again. Now, let’s get a damn win in October this year!

Oh. Shit. Under a minute into the game, Jordan Staal was booked for high-sticking Ryan Ellis, giving Nashville an early power play opportunity. Wouldn’t you know it, they cashed in on the man advantage thanks to a deflected shot that beat Cam Ward through the five-hole. That, unfortunately was not the worst thing about the first 5 minutes of the game.

Not even 4 freaking minutes into the season, and James Wisniewski got pinched and tangled up along the boards, leading to him clutching his left knee and being helped off the ice by teammates. To the surprise of no one who watched, Wiz did not return to the contest. Seriously, why can’t we have nice things? I blame it on everyone saying “for the first time in years, the Canes start out the season with no one on IR.” Thanks for the jinx, jerks.

Back to the stick and puck competition, and I hope you’re seated comfortably for this statement: a man playing against the Carolina Hurricanes scored the 1st goal of his National Hockey League career. Viktor Arvidsson scored on another deflection with only 3 minutes left in the 1st period to give the Predators a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

That fan is doing a hell of a job posing as the celebration hands emoji.

Needless to say, there wasn’t exactly an endless fountain of confidence among our group at this point last night. Thankfully, our momentary cynicism was less than accurate, and the final 40 minutes were a noted improvement over the prior 20.

Lest my words be seen as heaping praise upon the second and third periods, allow me to note that the play at many times, was quite sloppy. Again, it’s the first game of the season, so less than A+ hockey is understandable.

Neither team scored in the middle stanza or in the majority of the final one, and the Canes pulled Cam Ward with about 2 minutes left in the game. Thankfully, Eric Staal scored to prevent the boys in white and red from being shutout on the evening.

All evening long, Nashville’s defense did a hell of a job clogging up the neutral zone, and limiting Carolina’s ability to possess the puck and get quality shots on net. That’s probably more due to Nashville’s quality blue line than Carolina’s questionable forward strength, but what was reassuring was the canes kept improving, even gaining the edge in shots on goal by the end of the game.

The Good

Cam Ward: Yeah, I said it. Credit where credit is due, and after giving up an early goal, and a second (on a deflection) in the first period, Ward was solid between the pipes. He made 23 saves on 25 shots, and was only beaten on redirected shots.

Justin FaulkHe’s a grown man playing grown man hockey. Faulk played nearly 30 minutes last night, had an assist on Eric’s goal, and played 3:28 (cheap pop) on the penalty kill.

The Bad:

I’m not putting anything in this category after one game except for Wiz’s injury. Staying positive this season. #ForNow.