Game six of the Carolina Hurricanes’ pivotal six-game homestand provided the team an opportunity to really take the next step forward in this early 2018-19 season.
A win would extend their winning streak to three games and continue their wave of momentum into the final week of November.
A loss would cut that short wave of positivity off and be a pretty disappointing way to end what had been a good homestand to that point.
The Hurricanes went with the former.
It was a fun, exciting, and convincing 4-1 win for the Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday night and, with it, they secured nine out of a possible 12 points on the homestand. That is very good.
The opening frame was pretty even, despite Florida’s early domination on the shot clock where, at one point, they had a 14-6 advantage.
The Hurricanes saw their fair share of high-danger chances but Roberto Luongo had an answer on each of Carolina’s first nine shots, but shot number ten hurt the Panthers for more reasons than one.
As Jordan Martinook slid the puck past Luongo at the end of a great shift from the Lucas Wallmark line, the 39-year-old goalie laid flat on his back, holding his leg up in the air. After a conference with the Panthers’ training staff, the veteran backstop was helped off the ice with an apparent lower-body injury with just 38 seconds to go in the first frame.
James Reimer took the reigns in Florida’s net from there. He faced his first shot (a dump-in attempt that rolled on net) before the horn sounded and 20 minutes were in the books. The Canes took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period started with some fireworks. Just over five minutes into the frame, a post-whistle scrum led to Wallmark’s head being shoved down to the ice. Martinook wasn’t a fan of those actions, which led to him getting two minutes for roughing. Mike Matheson, the starter of the nonsense, was given four minutes for roughing.
Carolina failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play despite seeing the top unit hold the puck in the offensive zone for north of 90 seconds. They got a couple of shots, but they weren’t able to generate many real scoring chances.
Just over halfway through the middle frame, Jordan Staal got rung up for an offensive zone slashing penalty. His teammates were able to bale him out, though, including McElhinney who absolutely robbed Nick Bjugstad from the dead slot.
Another Carolina power play couldn’t produce much of anything notable down the stretch in the second period, and the score stayed at 1-0 going into the second inter...
Wait! The Canes have a chance to sc.... WHAT!? WHY!?!?
Any way, after Teravainen’s unbelievably ill-advised pass out of what was the highest-quality scoring chance of the night to that point, the Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
Just before the halfway point in the third period, the Canes gave their lead a cushion. Wallmark hit Martinook with a drop pass and the former Coyote rifled home his second goal of the night to make it a 2-0 hockey game.
29 seconds later, a Florida bench minor for too many men on the ice gave the Hurricanes an opportunity to really put the game away.
And that’s what they did.
Teravainen righted his late second-period wrong and sniped home the third Carolina goal. It was a power play strike that upped the Canes to 1-for-3 on the man advantage for the evening.
From then, PNC Arena turned into a total mad house. Fans were screaming “woo!” nonstop, a wave broke out, 14,000+ sang “Sweet Caroline” with pride during a late stoppage of play.
Not even Troy Brouwer’s shutout-spoiling goal with 5:56 to go in the third period could put a damper on the fun being had in Raleigh.
That fun was bumped up a good deal when Martinook capped off his hat trick on the empty net with two minutes to go.
The vibes were positive in Raleigh on Friday, as they should have been. The Hurricanes capped off their six-game homestand with a convincing 4-1 win over the Panthers. They went 4-1-1 in the six games. A pivotal moment in the early season.
The Hurricanes will now fly to Brooklyn and take on the New York Islanders tomorrow night. The Canes have been bested twice by the Isles so far, so they will, undoubtedly, be looking for sweet revenge on Saturday and to extend their winning streak to four games.
[On what motivated him to play the game he played on Friday] I think it was Svech pissing me off a little bit before the game. He was on me pretty hard in soccer. Me and him had a moment of silence there before the start of the game. I guess he needs to get on me a little more. That’s just what we do. We go out there, work hard, and forecheck. The last five or six games, you could see us coming. It’s nice to finally get rewarded and put some pucks in the back of the net.
[On Svechnikov] He’s learning. He won’t make a good play, but then he’ll come back to the bench and we’ll say something to him. He’s like a sponge, he learns so quick. He’s been awesome and he’s really trying to learn that part (defense) of the game which is awesome to see from a young guy. I can’t say enough good things about him.
[On the last hat trick he had] I can’t even remember the last one... Eh, I guess in junior I had one, but that was a long time ago. My mom’s in Vegas right now so I don’t know if she would’ve seen it, but my dad probably hit the roof of the basement. It’s cool. I’ll remember this one.
[On how his hot start offensively] Playing with those two (Wallmark and Svechnikov), I think we can keep it going. I’m just a guy that goes out and works hard. If (points) come, they come. I’m happy watching other guys score too, so I just want to win.
[On what has been the cause of the winning streak] We want to win. It’s hard to win, but we’re working hard every game.
[On if the pre-game soccer incident wherein he “pissed off” Martinook will be a tradition] We’ll see. I don’t know. (Martinook interjected and added “It better not be every game!”)
[On his success on Friday] Yeah, the pucks were hitting me. It was a pretty tight game, for the most part, until we opened it up with the second (goal). The third (goal) went a long ways, too. We did a good job. We stayed out of the box, for the most part, and we did a good job on the (penalty) kill.
[On how fun it is to put these good starts together] There was a lot of life in the building tonight. That’s what happens when you start putting wins on the board and you have a little bit of success. People get excited about it. It was nice to see it.
[On Martinook’s great game] He’s just the type of player that... deserves that. He works so hard. That line has been so good for us and they finally got rewarded.
[On the growth of Svechnikov’s defensive game] It’s getting better. I mean, I think there’s still some lapses. It’s the NHL. There’s a lot going on and there’s a lot to pick up. He’s willing to learn and that’s why I know he’s going to get all of this, at some point. He’s going to be a really, really good player. He’s already getting there and, from where he started (two months ago), he has come a long way. He’s getting more confident and we’re getting more confident in him.
[On if a decision has been made on the goalie for tomorrow’s game in New York] We haven’t yet. I don’t think it’s fair to throw (McElhinney) back in there. I kinda want to, but I think that’s a little much.
[On McElhinney’s ability to make timely saves] Those are the times where you’re like ‘uh-oh’ and you need a save, and he came up big. He has played very, very well, obviously.
[On if McElhinney has exceeded his expectations] When you bring him in, you want him to just be solid. That’s his reputation, if you just go down and look at his numbers every where he has been. That’s what everyone talks about. I don’t think he has exceeded our expectations because that’s what we thought we were getting and hoping we were getting. So far, he has definitely lived up to everything.
Carrick Recalled; Pesce Placed on IR
Following the game, the Hurricanes recalled Trevor Carrick from the AHL Charlotte Checkers and placed Brett Pesce on injured reserve to open a roster spot. Carrick may draw into the lineup tomorrow night in Brooklyn after Haydn Fleury was injured on a check into the boards that led directly to Brouwer’s goal in the third period. Pesce’s IR designation is retroactive to November 10, the night of the last game he played before being sidelined with an upper-body injury, and he is eligible to return to the active roster as early as Saturday. The release from the team is below.
CANES RECALL CARRICK, PLACE PESCE ON IR
Carrick has posted 17 points in 19 AHL games this season
Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled defenseman Trevor Carrick from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League and placed defenseman Brett Pesce on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 10.
Carrick, 24, leads Checkers defensemen with 17 points (3g, 14a) in 19 AHL games this season. The 6’2”, 196-pound blueliner made his NHL/Hurricanes debut on March 15, 2016, and has skated in three career NHL games. Drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (115th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, he has appeared in 295 career AHL games for Charlotte with 151 points (34g, 117a). The Stouffville, Ont., native posted career highs in goals (11), assists (33) and points (44) in 73 games for the Checkers last season.
Pesce, 22, sustained a lower-body injury during Carolina’s 4-3 shootout loss vs. Detroit on Nov. 10. The Tarrytown, N.Y., native, has posted three points (2g, 1a) in 17 games this season. Drafted by the Hurricanes in the third round (66th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Pesce has registered 58 points (11g, 47a) in 233 career NHL/Hurricanes games.