Throughout its 20 years of existence, PNC Arena has been home to some very exciting events. It’s seen sell out concerts, a Stanley Cup championship, and even March Madness. All of these memories tend to fade with time as new memories get created and new generations flock to the arena. Last night, those in attendance of the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 defeat of the Calgary Flames got to witness first hand another memorable moment inside the arena’s walls.
Young forward Andrei Svechnikov scored undoubtedly the most talented hockey goal ever scored inside the arena. There may have been bigger goals scored in the grand scheme of PNC’s history but none more talented. A first of it’s kind in NHL history, Svechnikov pulled of a goal so crazy it could be easily considered a favorite for best goal of the decade. But his night was far from over, as he would go on to score the game winning goal just a few minutes later capping of yet another memorable evening inside the 20-year-old arena just off Edwards Mill Road.
The Good - Mrazek’s Streak
The story-line from last night is all about Svechnikov and there’s no way around there. But for as good as his play was the team would not win the game if not for Petr Mrazek’s play in goal. Last night was Mrazek’s 14th straight victory inside PNC Arena (including the playoff games), which is unheard of.
Being such an emotional goaltender it is easy to see how Mrazek has been able to feed off the energy in the arena and the fan support he has gained while a member of the Hurricanes. After allowing a goal in the first period to former Hurricane Elias Lindholm, Mrazek shut the door, standing tall for the rest of the game. Over his last two games, he has only allowed one goal and seems to be settling in as the Canes’ number one goalie.
Petr Mrazek robs Mangiapane on the point-blank chance. pic.twitter.com/VOXYpSD0Qs— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 30, 2019
Mrazek still needs to work on his game on the road, but as long as he can continue to be lights out at home the Hurricanes will go very far this year. After so many years of struggling to find goaltending, it’s truly refreshing to see so many good things about the guy in net for Carolina.
The Unbelievably Great - Svech
There’s no need for a bad section when the Canes win a game 2-1 and it features the goal of the year and one of the best of the decade. When the Hurricanes drafted Svechnikov second overall last year, they thought they were getting a special player — and boy, he has not disappointed.
With Sebastian Aho’s struggle to get going this season, the Hurricanes needed their other players to step up and Svechnikov has been one of the players who has done just that. His goal scoring wasn’t there to start but he was making offense happen by assisting on goals, which is an area everyone was hoping he would improve upon from last year. Now the goals have started to rain down as he has four in his past two games.
His first goal of the night was one everyone will remember for a very long time. The first ever lacrosse style goal to be scored during an NHL game belongs to young Svechnikov. According to other players and Rod Brind’Amour, it’s a move Andrei practices daily and one he actually tried to pull off last year against the Islanders. Tripp Tracy said on the broadcast that Svechnikov had guaranteed him that he would score on that move one day and then it actually happened.
There simply aren’t enough words to describe not only the guts it has to try that move in an actual game, but to pull it off as well. Simply put: wow.
Twitter exploded with posts about the goal shortly thereafter from players like Jordan Martinook, to reporters such as Bob McKenzie, college lacrosse clubs, and even ESPN chiming in to express their amazement at what just occurred.
The backstory on the move is that he learned it watching Mikael Granlund do it for Finland at the World Championship back in 2011. Since then he has worked tremendously to perfect it and waited for the right time to make it happen.
Svechnikov said his brother, Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov, taught him the lacrosse move. He originally saw it when Mikael Granlund did for Finland against Russia in the semifinals of the 2011 World Championships.— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) October 30, 2019
But for as good and memorable as that goal was, the game was still just tied at 1-1. No worries thought, because Svechnikov used his deadly shot to break the tie just minutes after his highlight tally. Guys like Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin set the bar high for young Russian forwards to have a deadly shot and Svechnikov appears to be the next great Russian shot.
His pinpoint accuracy when he has time and space is a thing of beauty in its own right. Watch how he fires this power play goal past David Rittich to put the Canes ahead during the third period last night.
oh and here is that other goal, also scored by Andrei pic.twitter.com/o18Nuszlb3— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) October 30, 2019
Erik Haula, another Hurricane who has stepped up big in the early going, provided a terrific screen and that was all Svechnikov needed. At that point, despite being almost 5,000 people short of a sellout, PNC Arena felt just as loud and crazy as it did during the playoffs last season. This team, led by young guys such as Svechnikov, has brought hockey back to life in Raleigh.
Moral of the Story
To borrow a phrase from Wade was a great night for hockey in Raleigh last night. Another exciting comeback victory has the Hurricanes in a position they’ve only been in once before after October at 8-3-1. The last time they did that was in 2005-2006 and that year ended pretty well. The team as a whole could not do it without the performance they have gotten in goal and the production from guys up front. While last night was a great night for hockey, October 2019 has been a great month for hockey in Raleigh.
The Hurricanes will return home again on Friday to take on the Detroit Red Wings but before they get to that we have to get through Halloween first. As we close in on the festivities surrounding October 31st, it seems pretty clear that the trick Andrei Svechnikov pulled off last night, from his first goal to the game winner, may be the greatest treat we all get all year!