It was a goaltending clinic in Rogers Arena Thursday night, as Petr Mrazek and Jacob Markstrom battled for more than 60 minutes in a game where it seemed neither of them could be beat.
In the end, it was Markstrom who won in overtime, as Elias Pettersson netted a backhand past Mrazek 40 seconds into the extra period to give the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes outshot the Canucks 43-26 in the game, but Markstrom was simply too good to be beat. Mrazek was nearly as good, stopping 25 of the 26 shots he faced. Pettersson’s game winner was a fantastic effort, as the second-year forward perfectly roofed a backhanded effort over Mrazek’s shoulder after receiving the puck off a lost stick on the ice.
The Hurricanes were able to secure a point for the fourth straight game, and are now 1-0-1 on the start of a five-game road trip.
It was a relatively quiet first period, as the two teams combined for just 13 shots on goal. Despite the moderate workload, both goalies were on their best form in the opening frame. Mrazek and Markstrom both made some big saves in the first, with Markstrom using the glove to deny Julien Gauthier his first career goal on his first career shot on net.
Julien Gauthier blows by Tyler Myers and very nearly scores his first NHL goal. He got robbed by Jacob Markstrom. pic.twitter.com/6RsAc2s5ix— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 13, 2019
While Mrazek and Markstrom might not have been particularly busy in the first period, the Canes’ penalty kill unit certainly was. Carolina committed three penalties in the opening 20 minutes, leading to six minutes of power-play hockey for the Canucks.
The PK unit for the Hurricanes stayed hot, keeping Vancouver off the board and limiting the Canucks to just two shots on goal during the three power plays combined. For the Canes, who came into the night boasting the NHL’s second-best penalty kill, the third kill of the first period marked the 15th successful PK in the last 16 tries.
The Canes offense kicked it up in the second period, firing 22 shots on Markstrom in the frame, but the score remained 0-0 after 40 minutes of hockey. Like the Hurricanes had done in the first, the Canucks gave up three penalties in the middle period.
The Canes were a bit more active on the power play than Vancouver had been, but still couldn’t find a way to beat the brilliant Markstrom. The first two penalties came back-to-back, with the Hurricanes essentially spending four and a half consecutive minutes with a man advantage.
It looked like Carolina may have scored in between the two penalties, as Sebastian Aho tipped the puck into the net after a broken-stick shot from Ryan Dzingel fluttered through Vancouver’s defense. However, the play was blown dead as a Canuck got a slight touch on the puck, ending the delayed penalty and sending Christopher Tanev to the box.
The Canucks also had a two-minute man advantage in the second, but the Hurricanes’ penalty kill was strong yet again. The goaltending on both ends of the ice was even better in the second than it had been in the first, as the shots and opportunities increased for both teams but the horn stayed silent.
The third period was more of the same, as Mrazek and Markstrom exchanged big saves and the Canes and Canucks exchanged penalties. Playing four-on-four hockey after penalties on both teams that came 12 seconds apart, Markstrom and Mrazek both made incredible saves on one-on-one chances.
Markstrom shut the door on Brett Pesce, who tried to fire a breakaway backhand past the Canucks’ goalie. Mrazek answered right back, denying Jake Virtanen a goal on a very similar situation. Things continued this way down the stretch, as both goalies came up with big saves in the final minute of regulation to send the game to overtime.
After the Hurricanes came up empty on the first possession of the extra period, the Canucks struck with Pettersson’s brilliant winner.
The Canes will now head to Calgary, where they will take on the red-hot Flames Saturday afternoon.