It was a big night for Carolina as a pair of highly anticipated debuts finally happened for Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. The two Finns were center by Elias Lindholm.
The first 20 minutes were a bit lackluster for the Hurricanes as Tampa’s Tyler Johnson opened the scoring just 5:21 into the first frame. Assists went to Ondrej Palat and Nikita Nesterov.
Through the first period, shots were at a surprisingly low 4-3 in favor of the home team.
From there on, things started to pick up for the Canes as Eddie Lack shut down the Bolts in the second period, ultimately stopping 11 of 12 Tampa shots prior to Michael Leighton’s preseason debut in the third period.
Carolina held Tampa to just four shots in the final frame, making Leighton’s job pretty easy. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes worked tirelessly to get the game tied, which they eventually did with just 1:05 to go in the third period.
It was a powerplay goal for Jeff Skinner, who was able to net a rebound in front off of a shot from Phil Di Giuseppe. Victor Rask factored in on the goal with a secondary assist. Skinner now has two goals in two preseason outings.
Spirits were high for the Canes entering overtime, but that was put to bed quickly after Ondrej Palat’s breakaway goal just 1:08 into the extra frame. He was able to sneak the puck underneath the pad of Leighton to send Tampa home happy and get revenge for Tuesday night’s game in Florida.
Missed Opportunities on the Man Advantage
Carolina had another busy night on the powerplay. They had six odd-man opportunities, which rendered mixed results.
The top unit of Jordan Staal, Aho, Teravainen, Lindholm and Justin Faulk produced chances but weren’t able to bury it. The skill was apparent there, now it’s just about capitalizing.
“They had a lot of great looks,” Rod Brind’Amour said about the powerplay, Aho and Teravainen in particular, following Friday’s loss. “It’s so early in the season, and they haven’t had but one practice. We’re trying to tell them on the fly what we’re trying to do. They’re picking it up very quickly, so that’s a positive sign.”
The second unit was able to cash in late in period three after a double-minor high-sticking penalty to Brayden Point.
While the Hurricanes’ power play has been far from dominant so far, it looks like they have the groups they want. There were a lot of chances, but now it’s about putting the puck in the net.
Throughout the night, they moved the puck with more and more force and efficiency, which is definitely a positive to take away from the loss.
- A 16-shot third period helped the Hurricanes reach 28 shots on the night. The Lightning finished with just 17 pucks on net.
- Carolina saw north of seven minutes of powerplay time in the final 20 minutes of regulation time.
- The Aho/Lindholm/Teravainen line, much like the entirety of the team, got better as the game progressed. They seem to have good chemistry early on. A lot of one touch passes and chances to score. The trio logged north of 19:00 of ice time and combined for six shots on net. Lindholm won 64% of his draws.
- Aho’s first NHL preseason game was a mixed bag. At times, he looked a bit over his head and pressured, but the talent he has was very apparent at times throughout the game. As the preseason and training camp progresses, he will only continue to get better. This is a player that will be very good, but it’s about being patient for now.
- Quietly, Eddie Lack has another fabulous outing. A quick goal from Johnson didn’t phase him as he bounced back and was able to fend off the Lightning through a quiet first period and a more lively second period.
- Haydn Fleury drew into his first preseason game of the year on Friday, and he played well. He’s matured his game year in and year out since being drafted. He has a long stride and a long reach which makes him a pesky blueliner. He’ll need to have a solid go of things through the next week in order to make a push for the 23-man roster on October 13.
Off to Minnesota
The Carolina Hurricanes will travel up North to take on the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
The Hurricanes will look to improve to 3-0-1. Former Canes captain Eric Staal may get in the lineup as well, so that’s another thing to watch for this weekend.
Carolina will practice on Saturday at the PNC Arena. This weekend’s practices are closed to the public.