The Carolina Hurricanes have been susceptible to letting one loss turn into two losses, or three losses, or four losses in the first two months of the season, but on Saturday night, they had an opportunity to turn around from their loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and get back on the right side of the win/loss column.
Their opponent was a tough one - the surging Florida Panthers.
Carolina proved to be tougher, though, as they came back from a bad start and dominated the Panthers en route to a rousing 4-2 win on Hockey Fights Cancer night at PNC Arena.
The first period was quite an experience.
It was all Florida early. Ryan Dzingel went to the box for two minutes for “high sticking” (his stick hit John Brown’s chest and it was sold brilliantly). After a great kill, the Carolina fourth line had consecutive breakdowns that both resulted in goals.
First, off of an offensive zone face off win for the Panthers, Aaron Ekblad danced through some loose defense from Carolina and scored off of a nifty move as Petr Mrazek was completely screened.
18 seconds later, Dzingel got beat to the net by Brian Boyle, and Boyle managed to roof the puck on Mrazek all alone in front. All of a sudden, the Canes were behind 2-0.
Then, things clicked. A strong shift from the Carolina first line resulted in sustained offensive zone pressure and the home team’s first goal. Joel Edmundson moved the puck low-to-high to Teuvo Teravainen, and Teravainen put the puck in Brett Pesce’s bread basket for a long-range laser that beat Sergei Bobrovsky bar-down.
Just under five minutes of continued strong play later, the Canes beat Bobrovsky again. Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton played catch at the point, and then Hamilton found Necas on a gorgeous cross-seam pass and Necas hammered the one-timers into the Panthers’ net and tied the game at two goals apiece with 5:40 to go in the first period.
Dougie Hamilton to Martin Necas for the goal. What a pass from Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/imKjU2hRZn— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) November 24, 2019
Both teams exchanged chances down the stretch of the first period, but the score stayed at 2-2 through 20 minutes of whacky, sloppy hockey at PNC.
The second period was just as action-packed, but it lacked the goals.
Through the first 17 minutes, things were very even with both teams getting quality scoring chances. Mrazek saw the more dangerous chances, but he put together one of his strongest periods of the season and kept the Cats at bay.
With 2:15 left in the period, the first goal of the frame was scored. From the right corner of the Panthers’ zone, Teravainen sent a slick no-look backhand pass to the slot, where Hamilton flew in and hammered home a one-timer chance to beat Bobrovsky through the five-hole and give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
With the goal, Hamilton became the first NHL defenseman to reach ten goals this season.
Dougie Hamilton is the first defenseman to score 10 goals in 2019-20. The only other blueliner in @Canes / Whalers history to accomplish the feat in any season was Mark Howe in 1979-80. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/BB8jgzR7iy— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 24, 2019
And with a secondary assist on the goal, Andrei Svechnikov set some Hurricanes history, extending his point streak to seven games.
Andrei Svechnikov extended his point streak to seven games to establish the longest such run by a teenager in @Canes team history, besting Sebastian Aho’s previous mark of 6 GP in 2016-17. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/5EFRDrI8NQ— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 24, 2019
From there, the Hurricanes grabbed control of the game and they never let go. The entire third period was dominated by Carolina in front of a crowd of 18,159. That crowd had a lot to cheer for, as Bobrovsky was the lone thing separating the Hurricanes from a two or three-goal period in the third.
The Canes got a long power play in the second half of the period, and while they weren’t able to capitalize, both units (but the first unit, in particular) threatened from start to finish.
After killing the penalty, Florida pulled Bobrovsky for the extra attacker. After a few flurries of opportunities, the Canes cleared the zone and gave the first line a chance to finish the game off.
Svechnikov was the guy who finished it off. He gloved-down a puck in the neutral zone, collected himself, and threw a dart into the open Florida net with 52 seconds left on the clock.
Another surge from the Cats was fought off and the Hurricanes closed things out.
Carolina put together a dominant showing after falling behind 2-0 early in the game, winning by a final score of 4-2 on the back off multi-point nights from Teravainen (three assists), Hamilton (one goal, one assist), and Svechnikov (one goal, one assist).
Mrazek stopped 21 of 23 in his tenth win of the season.
The win puts the Hurricanes at 14-8-1 on the season. They won’t have to wait long to get back on the ice as they’ll fly to Detroit and take on the Red Wings on Sunday night.