The Carolina Hurricanes came out firing and held on Tuesday night as they rode their undefeated start to the season to 4-0 with a 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. The offensive onslaught featured an ensemble cast with five separate Canes notching at least two points on the evening. James Reimer battles in net as the Canes got themselves in penalty trouble on a few occasions, stopping a robust 47 of the 50 shots he faced on the evening.
After Jordan Staal got the scoring started with a tough putback just over six minutes into the game, the Canes penalty kill was put to a severe test early as penalties to Nino Niderreiter and Sebastian Aho left the Canes down five-on-three for 1:10 of game time. A strong effort from Reimer and some tough shot blocks from Joel Edmundson allowed the Canes to escape with their 1-0 lead.
From there, the Canes took the game over and stormed out to a 4-0 lead to close the first period. That scoring avalanche began with a nifty tip from Teuvo Teravainen of a point shot from Haydn Fleury. It was followed with a four-on-four tally from Dougie Hamilton as he deposited one past Sergei Bobrovsky after receiving a feed from Andrei Svechnikov who had beed denied on a breakaway moments before. Finally, Ryan Dzingel finished the sparkling first period with a powerplay marker on a beautiful designed deflection play in front of the net on a feed from Teravainen. The four goals chased Bobrovsky, who stopped 10 of the 14 shots he faced in the first.
The second period saw the Canes loosen their grip on the game a bit as they turned the puck over some and found themselves in the box twice more. Nevertheless, the Canes continued to add to their lead with Dzingel again finding the back of the net on a fortunate rebound spit out by backup netminder Sam Montembeault to make the score 5-0.
From there, the Canes level certainly dipped, but with a terrific effort from Reimer, the only goal was tipped home by MacKenzie Weegar less than four minutes into the period. The Canes dodged a few good chances, while producing a few of their own, and took their 5-1 advantage into the third period.
More than a minute of power play time awaited the Canes at the beginning of the third period. Although the Canes didn’t add to their lead, they continued to move the puck well on what has been an improved man advantage thus far on the young season. Reimer continued his sterling evening, turning away a pair of quality chances near the five minute mark of the period.
But the Canes again fell into penalty trouble and yielded a power play goal on a ripped shot from Keith Yandle. As the period pushed into the final 10 minutes, the Panthers continued their high-pressure attack as they attempted to rally from a 5-2 deficit. Once again, the Canes faced penalty trouble, this time from Brock McGinn who entered the box with just over six minutes remaining. The Panthers took advantage, getting very aggressive by removing their goalie during the power play, and cut the lead to 5-3 with a goal from Evgenii Dadonov.
Carolina was able to gather themselves from there however, surviving a heavy barrage from the Cats who emptied their net again with over three minutes remaining. Finally, the Canes got the bounce and zone exit they needed to allow Aho to skate in and notch his first goal of the season to complete the scoring at 6-3.
The 4-0 start ties a franchise record set in Hartford in 1995 for the best start to a season. Reimer pushed his record to 2-0, as he has contributed to what the Canes hope can be a similar arrangement as Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney enjoyed a season ago.
The Canes will now return home to put their undefeated start on the line with two divisional games against the Islanders and Blue Jackets on Friday and Saturday night.