The Canes came into Arizona hoping a little rest would lead to a quick jump against the Arizona Coyotes. Instead, they were outworked in nearly every facet of the game early, but rallied back to tie the game and take a point.
In the end, Clayton Keller found Michael Grabner in overtime to send Carolina to a 4-3 loss. But those who lived to see the whole game may find that a blessing after the sloppy first period.
In reality, the first period was a snoozer for much of the first ten minutes, then the Coyotes exploited the Canes to grab a sizeable lead. Near the 12:30 mark, Warren Foegele drew an interference call off a faceoff -- his second penalty drawn in the early game -- to set up a power play for Carolina.
What ensued? A shorthanded goal by Brad Richardson, a man-up icing seconds later, then a penalty with two seconds left on the advantage for high-sticking on Micheal Ferland.
During the following penalty kill, Brendan Perlini gained entry and sped past weak stick and poke checks to put a backhander past Petr Mrazek. Less than a minute later, two defenders bit on Dylan Strome to leave Nick Cousins wide open in front of the net for an easy wrister to make it 3-0.
The broadcasters wondered if the Canes would turn to Darling for an energy boost. Instead, Rod and crew shook up the lines -- not just one or two, but all of them -- in the second period, and things picked up. The Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Micheal Ferland line looked like a power play in itself at even strength at times, then the Jordan Martinook - Lucas Wallmark - Teuvo Teravainen line picked it up after one such shift, scoring at the 10:34 mark.
On the play, Jaccob Slavin skated patiently below the blue line, setting up a passing lane down to Wallmark on the right side of the net, who one-touched it over to Justin Faulk. The veteran defenseman took a quick shot that redirected off the skate of Martinook, giving the former Coyote a goal in his old arena.
Foegele nearly got the Canes within a goal in the waning minutes of the second period on a nice feed across the crease from Nicolas Roy, but he was stoned by Antti Raanta (spoiler: he did that to the Canes almost all night).
The third period felt like it was dragging for the first ten minutes. Raanta nearly ripped the Canes’ hearts out with an amazing save on Staal, who stretched the goalie out for a near-perfect chance that Raanta got a pad to. Then, the magic happened.
Svechnikov gave the Canes life with about 6:18 left to play, redirecting a feed from Slavin -- once again, great patience and skating -- to cut the score to 3-2.
Forty seconds later, Staal got his revenge, redirecting a wide-angle shot from Brock McGinn in with some quality #NetFrontPresence.
Tie ball...eh, puck game.
Seconds later, the Canes got a power play (is that good?) on a delay of game call. It was arguably the best power play of the night, but they were once again blanked, putting them 0-for-6 on the night and dropping their already below-average power-play scoring to the bottom of the league at 12.5 percent (significant lack of Bo-Berry Biscuits, people).
To overtime the two teams went, ensuring each secured a point, but Arizona came out the victor. Though that’s much easier to stomach against a Western Conference foe, especially given the poor start, the Hurricanes certainly had their chances to earn that second point in OT. Brett Pesce made a slow sweeping move near the crease to set up a nice shot, and Aho, as always, created a couple chances in his failed bid to set a solo NHL mark for consecutive games with an assist.
The Canes go back-to-back with a matchup up in Vegas on Saturday night (more Canes at Night action), and they’ve got a lot to learn from the craziness of this game — the flops, the switches, the non-special teams and the rallies of it all.