The Carolina Hurricanes earned their first win of the West Coast road trip by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in the shootout in their first ever matchup. Cam Ward earned the 300th victory of his career, only the 32nd player to reach that milestone.
The Golden Knights attack started quickly as James Neal generated a 2-on-1 after a bad pinch by the Hurricanes forward group. Neal’s odd-man rush was broken up by a diving Haydn Fleury who didn’t let a shot get to Ward. The two teams exchanged chances through the period but a lot of neutral zone play and a few icings broke up any chance at legitimate offensive pressure for either team. Late in the period, Brayden McNabb was behind Marc-Andre Fleury while attempting to set up a play. As McNabb tried to start an outlet pass up the ice, the stray stick of Marcus Kruger broke up the play and the puck, somehow, miraculously found its way into the back of the net. The goal was Kruger’s first as a Hurricane and also the first goal against his former team. Shots were 11-6 in favor of Carolina after the first period.
Less than two minutes into the second period, David Perron forced his way into the Hurricanes defensive zone and passed the puck to the point where Deryk Engelland was waiting. He fired a beautiful shot high on Ward that tied the game at one. The Hurricanes quickly responded after Jeff Skinner fed Trevor van Riemsdyk from behind the net who then fired glove side on Fleury. At the 7:12 mark of the second, Reilly Smith came straight down the middle of the ice and beat Jaccob Slavin in a foot race and fired a shot blocked side on Ward to tie the game at two.
Ward played sharp through the third but it was another diving Canes defenseman (van Riemsdyk) that broke up a good chance by the Golden Knights. The Canes put together consistent offensive chances in the third period but Fleury was up to the task. Neither team found the back of the net in the third period so the teams headed to overtime.
Despite a back and forth overtime in which Victor Rask narrowly missed the net to send the Hurricanes home with a win, the two teams headed to a shootout.
Alex Tuch and Sebastian Aho shot first for their respective teams and both shot high in the first frame of the shootout. Perron missed high on the second attempt for the Golden Knights and Slavin was stopped by Fleury in the second frame. Reilly Smith dangled and deked on Cam Ward and beat him with a backhand and Brock McGinn tied it with the game on the line. Erik Haula was pokechecked by Ward on the fourth attempt. For some reason beyond comprehension, Justin Faulk was used in the fourth attempt for the Hurricanes and was stopped by Fleury. Phil Di Giuseppe scored the shootout winner for the to secure the career milestone for Cam Ward.
The Hurricanes turn their attention to the Buffalo Sabres next with whom they will face off against in New York on Friday. Coverages begins 7 p.m. on Friday.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.