The Hurricanes came to Montreal hungry for a win fresh off a snoozer against the Maple Leafs at home. However, as the Canes kept inching their way back into the game, the Canadiens quickly found answers and held on for an 6-4 win.
The first period was a struggle for Carolina. Even with the home reds, the Canes couldn’t get red hot, going more than ten minutes without a shot to begin the game. The Canadiens, meanwhile, came out shooting, and Petr Mrazek made some great saves to keep them off the board, going 12-for-12.
Let’s just put that effort behind us, shall we?
Because the second period started with a dash of “what we’ve been waiting for” from Andrei Svechnikov. Jumping off the bench, Svechnikov gave an immediate stick tap and received the puck, speeding past two Canadiens defenders and moving left to right at the crease to net a top-shelf goal.
Montreal got one back late in the period, when Matthew Peca put a shot shielded by Haydn Fleury past the glove of Mrazek. The puck found a way off the skate of Michael Chaput back to Peca, who flung it from the right circle to bring the score to 1-1.
Fleury left the ice soon after the goal with an upper-body injury, and the Canes operated with five defensemen through the end of the game.
Also out for the game: Jordan Staal. He’s a top penalty killer, and as fellow penalty killer Justin Faulk was called for two penalties in a five-minute span during the second period, the Canes had their hands full trying to shut down the Canadiens’ power play. A trip called on Paul Byron helped the Canes for a few seconds on the first, but Svechnikov was quickly called for hooking on Jeff Petry.
However, Mrazek came up big time and time again, and the reinforcements held strong to keep Montreal off the board on the man advantages.
Justin Williams nearly gave the Canes the edge with just over three minutes left in the second period with a breakaway chance that he shot off the foot of Price. He got the puck back in front of the crease for another chance but, sensing trailing teammates, he held off on a quick shot and fed it back to Clark Bishop, who couldn’t corral the puck.
Seconds later, Petry did what the Canes were unable to, breaking the ice with another goal from right circle. Faulk turned over the puck to Max Domi after having plenty of time to clear, and Domi found Petry to put Montreal up, 2-1, headed to the third … which, again, began fast.
Twenty-three seconds into the period, Svechnikov said he’s not finished. Lucas Wallmark forced a turnover on the boards in the opening seconds, then Williams fed Svechnikov from behind the crease. The rookie knocked one off Price that trickled gloveside, then he quickly collected and fired from a sharp angle into a yawning net for a 2-2 game.
But 22 seconds later, Brendan Gallagher turned the score back in favor of Montreal, peeling off from the defense of Jaccob Slavin to receive a pass from Phillip Danault and poke the puck through Mrazek’s five hole.
Whatever confidence Svechnikov had tried to build was vanquished further minutes later by Arturri Lehkonen. He galloped down the right side of the ice past Calvin de Haan, and Faulk gave late support, allowing the Hab to reach past Mrazek then drag the puck back into the net for a 4-2 lead.
Svechnikov nearly had a hat trick with a shot from close range midway through the final period, but minutes later, Jaccob Slavin cashed in on an unshielded wrister that just whizzed by Price’s blocker side, cutting the score to 4-3.
Jaccob Slavin is pretty good at hockey pic.twitter.com/7vMdvRxj0m— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) December 14, 2018
But shortly thereafter, Andrew Shaw was the beneficiary of a Hurricanes defensive breakdown as he skated past Svechnikov to go mano a mano with Mrazek, beating the goalie low to the gloveside and giving the Habs a two-goal lead.
By this point, you should realize another goal was coming. Just scoring galore -- enjoy it while it lasts, folks.
Sebastian Aho slapped the back of the net with a puck after some personal shooting woes to give the Hurricanes late life. Teuvo Teravainen dished a nice, almost no-look pass to find Aho, and from there, it was all No. 20’s speed to draw Price from right to left and sling it by.
The Canes went to six men shortly after, but Petry once again killed hope, scoring a toppling, turning empty net goal with 1:59 to pay to give the final score.
A high point in the loss: despite missing a top penalty killer, the Canes’ penalty kill shutout the Habs on six power play chances.
Mrazek went 34-for-39 in net, and the Canes were outshot 40-31. They’ll get back to it on Friday against the Capitals at home.