Wild, wacky, and at times unhinged would be the best way to describe Thursday’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens, Mike Maniscalco, doing his best Stefon impression, summed up the proceedings:
Montreal’s hottest club is CentreBell.— Mike Maniscalco (@mikemaniscalco) January 26, 2018
This @NHLCanes game has everything...2 goals for Teuvo Teravainen tonight. 5 goals combined in the 2nd...a fight...big saves...Yuppi...a mini yuppi...Chien Chaud...
The Canes and Habs played their way into the All-Star Break with the Hurricanes escaping with a thrilling 6-5 victory in an affair that featured seven second-period goals.
With coach Bill Peters imploring his players to adapt a “playoff mentality” for the final game before the break and going forward, the Canes responded with a quick start set off with a goal from Teuvo Teravainen just 94 seconds into the contest. After killing off a Marcus Kruger penalty with what appeared to be a more pressure-oriented killing strategy (which was also evident later in the first period, after Cam Ward was called for a trip), the Canes special teams made a further impact as Victor Rask’s one-timer clanged off Carey Price’s right pad directly to Jordan Staal, who deposited the power play goal into the gaping net to make the score 2-0, which is how the first period would end.
The second period began with a notable change in the energy and aggression from the Habs. That energy was rewarded just over six minutes in, when Charles Hudon tapped the puck in after Jeff Petry clanged a shot off both posts, and quickly added an equalizing goal when Brendan Gallagher corralled a turnover in the slot and smashed it by Cam Ward, and just like that, within 39 seconds, the lead was gone.
At this juncture, you may say to yourself: “Here we go again. Another wasted good start from the Canes. I’ve read this script before.” Well, this was not the typical Canes script, nor the typical script for ANY NHL game.
Immediately following the two Canadiens goals, the Hurricanes responded in a flash, as Jeff Skinner reached out and tapped home a rebound just 18 seconds after the game-tying tally.
Just 30 seconds after that, a defensive breakdown by the Habs allowed Teravainen to skate in free and roof a backhand past Price to restore the Canes’ two goal lead, which had evaporated just 48 seconds prior.
The Canadiens refused to go away, as Hudon jumped right back into the goal column just 1:24 later, with another wrister from the slot to make the score 4-3. Just before the end of the period, with the Canes continuing to spend more time in their own end, the Habs again tied the score as Jeff Petry snapped one home underneath Ward with just over one minute remaining in the second period.
But not to be outdone, again, the Canes responded as Hanifin carried the puck into the zone with Skinner on left wing on what appeared to be a two-on-one with around ten seconds remaining in the period. Hanifin centered the puck, which was poked into the slot area by Price, but was gathered by Derek Ryan who ended the period with a bang by beating Price to make the score 5-4 with on four seconds left in the period.
With one period between them and the All-Star break, and a one-goal lead to protect, the Canes and Habs continued the up and down pace, but with fewer fireworks until the Habs received a power play almost halfway into the third period. Petry was able to get a shot on net off the initial faceoff, and captain Max Pacioretty tipped the puck past Ward to even the game at 5 apiece.
But, yet again, the Canes responded almost immediately. Rask fired one at Price off a pass from Justin Williams, who then drove towards the net, and then himself was able to get a stick onto the shot from Rask to sneak the sixth goal of the night past Price with 10:18 remaining, and again provide the Canes with a one goal advantage.
Down the stretch of the third period, Ward was able to make a few key saves, which he often held for faceoffs. Crucial faceoff wins from Staal and Ryan were able to take away what had been the beginning point for many of the Habs best chances in the game. With the help of a sturdy left post on a redirect by Paul Byron with just under two minutes left and an empty net on the other end, the Canes were able to escape with an exciting 6-5 win.
Ward held together just enough for the Canes as he made the 26 saves he absolutely needed to make in order to secure the victory. Hanifin and Trevor van Riemsdyk each posted an impressive plus-5 rating, tying the team record shared with seven other players, with Hanifin and Teravainen also adding three points apiece.
The Canes enter the All-Star Break now with Hanifin headed to Tampa to take part in the festivities. The team will return to the ice on Tuesday night back in Raleigh as the Hurricanes will host the Ottawa Senators.
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