After some tough breaks and head-shaking offense during their trip through California, the Carolina Hurricanes closed out the road stand with a pair of points, using a big third period and a first NHL goal to push past the Ducks, 4-1.
The start, however, was a bit concerning. Coming in, it felt like the Canes needed to rev it up in the first period after all the recent scoring woes. Instead, they came to a sputter yet again.
For the opening half of the initial period, it was all Ducks. They controlled the Canes’ zone, though they were unable to solve the Carolina defense to create dangerous chances. But that proved to be of little worry for the home team as Jake Dotchin tipped a puck past Petr Mrazek for a shorthanded goal on the Canes’ first power play of the game.
Carolina was close to finding answers with a flurry of dangerous shots around the crease as the period went on, but John Gibson was brilliant once again, making 13 saves to open his night. The shot chart was honestly pretty beautiful, but the outcome may have just built more confidence for Gibson.
Canes trailing 1-0 with the 13-6 shot advantage after 1. Obviously not good on PP but actually not bad with some Actually Good chances 5 v 5. Solving John Gibson would be a good movie title. 5 v 5 Per @NatStatTrick: pic.twitter.com/ldfH1MmSHW— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) December 8, 2018
Or maybe not.
Early in the second period, Gibson’s defense would hurt him, allowing (or rather forcing) Clark Bishop to score his first NHL goal. As he attacked the net, Bishop was taken down by Hampus Lindholm, and in the process, Bishop’s skate dragged the puck past the goal line before the net was dislodged. After an official review and a goalie interference challenge, he was awarded the goal because, according to the NHL, Lindholm “caused Bishop to contact Gibson before the puck crossed the goal line.”
Clark Bishop's first career NHL goal and point. It wasn't pretty... but the Canes (and Bishop) will take it! Tie game in Anaheim. pic.twitter.com/ngVHtkf3Pe— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 8, 2018
Carolina seemed to build momentum in the short run from the goal, but it stalled in the latter part of the second due to penalties, giveaways and offisides calls. Brock McGinn was tripped with less than 2:00 to play in the period, and Teuvo Teravainen nearly gave the Canes the edge on the ensuing power play with a sharp shot from the circle, but he whistled it off the outside post on a hard one-timer.
No matter, thankfully. Two minutes into the final period, Teravainen fed Brett Pesce on a cross-ice rush, and when Pesce gave it a good whack while pressured, the puck whizzed by Gibson for the eventual game-winner.
Another minute later, and Justin Williams finally found his scoring touch in the goalie’s blue paint. He created the successful zone entry, deftly avoiding a hip check along the boards, then off Bishop’s blast from just outside the circle, he corralled the puck that rolled off Gibson’s shoulder and flicked it in.
Back-to-back penalties on Teravainen (slashing) and Calvin de Haan (tripping) led to a minute and change of 5-on-3 action with plenty of time left in the period, but Carolina came up with a humongous kill, not allowing a shot on goal. The Canes killed off the rest of the 5-on-4 easily, using big blocks to keep the pressure off Mrazek.
From there on, all was fairly quiet. In fact, it was mostly advantage Canes. The defense frustrated the Ducks, allowing virtually no shots attempts, then Sebastian Aho put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter that ... somehow, Adam Henrique took exception to?
Justin Faulk traded some jabs with Ryan Getzlaf, all was good, Aho headed to the locker room with the grin of a Finn and his teammates took it from there to end the game.
Mrazek went 18-for-19 in the net in his second start back from injury. (He also got two minutes for tripping on a wild call.) The Canes finished the Golden State trek 1-2-1 and return home to try to down the Maple Leafs once again at home on Tuesday.