What a difference a week makes for the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was just six days ago that the Canes were winless, entering November with hope for the first draft pick but little else. Following Friday night's come from behind 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in front of 11,540 at PNC Arena, the Canes are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
The Canes and Jackets played a scoreless first period, although most in the arena felt that Alexander Semin should have put the Canes on top halfway through on a power play. Semin's deflection off a Nathan Gerbe centering pass was initially ruled a goal on the ice, but following a conference the officials decided that he had interfered with Jackets goaltender Curtis McIlhinney and waved the goal off.
However, early in the second the Canes struck when Jeff Skinner took advantage of some careless Columbus puck-handling and backhanded a shot past McIlhinney at 2:43. "I was just trying to poke it off [the defender's] stick, and it got lost in my skates. I kicked it up and tried to get it over his pad."
The Jackets, though, fought back and took the lead into the second intermission following two Scott Hartnell goals, one taking advantage of lackadaisical defending at the end of a long shift at 11:15 and the go-ahead goal at 18:44 when Boone Jenner and Hartnell outfought Jay McClement and Brett Bellemore to the front of the net.
Canes coach Bill Peters mixed the lines up in the third period, and the spark he was looking for was there, as the Canes threw everything at McIlhinney. They were up to 60 shot attempts by the time Victor Rask tied the game at 2, with a laser shot from 40 feet that beat the Columbus goaltender high to the near side. "I didn't like our emotional involvement in the game" in the first two periods, Peters said. "We cranked it up a little in the third and found a way."
From there, Rask's fellow Swede Elias Lindholm took over. Sent off for repairs after taking an uncalled high stick early in the game, Lindholm nearly ended it with seven seconds remaining in regulation with a wrister off a clean faceoff win by Rask. That didn't make it in, but when Eric Staal drew a penalty late in overtime, the table was set for Lindholm to net his third game-winner of the season.
"He's a real smart player," Peters said of Lindholm. "If you continue to work and work through your troubles, you'll get rewarded. He's a great example of that."
- Justin Faulk is the only other player to score a game-winner for the Canes this season. Lindholm finishes the week with four goals, three of them game-winners, and six points during a four-game point streak. Stealing a line from erstwhile CC scribe @HMof2: so, how was your week?
- It's early, but the Canes are undefeated in their black third jerseys. And, of course, #UndefeatedChantel is still a thing.
- Peters said after the game that Anton Khudobin will start tomorrow night against the Capitals. The plan is to revert to the original lines tomorrow night after they were mixed up in the third period tonight, but the coaching staff was planning to discuss on the plane to Washington.
- The Canes' power play goal to end the game ended an 0-for-12 skid against the Jackets over the home-and-home series. The power play has been on a slow downward slide since the start of the season, not scoring more than one PPG since the second game of the season, and now sitting in 17th overall at 18.4%.
Canes Country Three Stars
(3) Scott Hartnell: Really clicked with Boone Jenner on what passes for the Jackets' top line given all of their injuries. Hartnell makes a living scoring dirty goals, and he was right there to do so tonight while generally being his usual annoying self.
(2) Elias Lindholm: What else needs to be said? Lindholm is as hot as any player in the NHL right now. His early season struggles are a distant memory, and despite needing stitches to close the cut across the bridge of his nose (and being rather timid on the puck immediately after coming back), he was probably the Canes' most dangerous offensive presence in the third period and overtime.
(1) Victor Rask: Lindholm was dangerous, but Rask was as consistent as they come tonight. His clean faceoff win (one of six out of nine faceoffs he took tonight) at the end of regulation recalled Rod Brind'Amour in his prime, and only a perfect save from McIlhinney kept Lindholm from winning the game right there. It probably helps to be a rookie and not give the opposition goaltender much to work with in terms of knowing what to expect, but Rask's game-tying goal was a thing of beauty after he did the hard work to create his own shot.
Open Thread Three Snarks
(3) Winter is Coming: "Another thing you definitely don't want on your resume: 'looked like Gerbe was all over McIlhinney'." http://www.canescountry.com/2014/11/7/7175813/blue-jackets-at-hurricanes-open-game-thread#269906532
(2) CoastalCane: "Wisniewski just displayed some CoastalCane-esque hockey skills with that whiff." http://www.canescountry.com/2014/11/7/7175813/blue-jackets-at-hurricanes-open-game-thread#269909050
(1) Kid CHUD: (After a Ward high glove save) "He’s been doing that a lot lately...someone needs to talk w/ him about that." http://www.canescountry.com/2014/11/7/7175813/blue-jackets-at-hurricanes-open-game-thread#269876978
Three Snarks Standings:
Winter is Coming - 9
Flyingv2112 - 6
CanesHockeyFan - 6
JustListenen - 5
StickCheck - 5
Bgallen - 4
MinJaBen - 4
Kid CHUD - 3
caniac233 - 3
brass bonanza - 3
Adrian Havill - 3
CoastalCane - 2
Bob - 2
Will_S13 - 2
sittler27 - 1
zambone - 1
Crashcup - 1
Next up: Canes at Capitals, Saturday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m. (note the different time!) on FS Carolinas and 99.9 The Fan.