The Carolina Hurricanes picked a good way to go into the All-Star game and bye week. With a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night, the team’s first win in Vancouver since 1999, the Canes finish a three-game Western Canada swing with five out of six points.
The Canes (24-20-6) scored five goals in the second period to take control of the game. Nino Niederreiter scored two goals to increase his Canes totals to go with a goal and two assists from Teuvo Teravainen, two assists from Sebastian Aho, a goal and an assist from Greg McKegg and a goal and an assist from Dougie Hamilton.
Making his first career start, Alex Nedeljkovic played a strong game in net for the Canes, stopping 24 of 26 Canucks (23-22-6) shots. He looked a little shaky at times, but couldn’t have been blamed on either Vancouver goal and made some sharp stops. Pretty much everything you could ask from a rookie making a spot start in a critical road game.
Justin Williams with some words of encouragement for rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic just before the opening faceoff of his first NHL start. pic.twitter.com/o8CromrtsR— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 24, 2019
The Canes played a strong first period, outshooting the Canucks 10-4. However, despite a couple grade-A chances in the form of a breakaway for Aho and shot off the post for Nino Niederreiter, the team could not find the back of the net in the opening frame.
The second period made up for the first’s lack of action, as the teams combined for four goals in the first 6:53 of the middle frame, and the Canes scored five goals in the period.
Niederreiter did put the Canes up 1-0 on an early second-period powerplay, finishing a one-touch pass from Justin Williams in the slot.
A power-play goal gets the Hurricanes on the board in Vancouver. Nino Niederreiter buries the rebound - his 3rd goal in less than 4 games with the Hurricanes. Assists to Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. pic.twitter.com/OEZi5iSFoB— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 24, 2019
The lead did not last long, however, as Josh Leivo tipped a centering feed from Troy Stecher past Nedeljkovic to tie the game at one just over a minute later.
Sven Baertschi gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead shortly after, finishing off a perfect cross-crease pass from stud rookie Elias Pettersson.
The Canes were quick to respond, however; McKegg tied the game at two by snapping in a shot from between the circles off a slick feed from Hamilton.
Greg McKegg.... is.... BACK! Tie game. pic.twitter.com/6UdaMvWMlp— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 24, 2019
The Canes took a two-goal lead with six minutes and change left in the period with goals 25 seconds apart. Niederreiter continued his hot start to his Canes career with his second goal of the game and period to make it 3-2, and Hamilton made it 4-2 with a laser that beat Markstrom from the circle on a behind-the-net feed from Teravainen.
NINO NIEDERREITER. AGAIN. His second 2-goal game with the Hurricanes. Sebastian Aho with the slick assist. pic.twitter.com/g6QPyJklsL— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 24, 2019
Whoa. An unreal pass from Teuvo Teravainen, and Dougie Hamilton snipes home his second goal in as many games. 4-2 Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/YxCzKTMK2c— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 24, 2019
Carolina continued to pour it on about three minutes later; Teravainen one-timed home a give-and-go pass from McKegg to make it 5-2.
The Canes will now take eight days off for the NHL’s All-Star weekend, followed by their league-mandated bye week before hosting the Vegas Golden Knights next Friday.