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About Last Night: Avoiding Heartbreak

Teravainen saved the day in overtime, but last night was almost heartbreaking for the Canes.

Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Thanks to Teuvo Teravainen, the Carolina Hurricanes somehow escaped Buffalo with a win last night. The Sabres, more specifically Jeff Skinner, did everything in their (his) power to send the Canes packing with nothing to show for their effort. The 6-5 overtime victory showed the Canes’ ability to be resilient and not give up despite plenty of opportunities to do so.

The Good - We Got The Goals

The Canes scored not one, not two, not three, but six goals against a goaltender last night — which is something they have only done three other times this season. To no one’s surprise, they have won all four of those games now.

The offensive outpouring came in all different forms last night. Justin Faulk got things off and running in the first period after receiving a very nice pass from Sebastian Aho.

Teravainen tallied the Canes’ only goal of the second period thanks to a good bounce off the top of the net and back in to play. While there was certainly some luck involved in the play Teravainen’s good positioning and fight to get to the lose puck is what created the goal.

A wild third period feature Greg McKegg and Brock McGinn scoring goals as a direct result of getting to the front of the net. Both guys found an open area and won the battle in front for tap in goals.

The Hurricanes even got a power play goal last night. If that isn’t a sign that their offense was really rolling nothing is. Nino Niederreiter continued his torrid pace as a Hurricanes off a feed from Teravainen which at the time put the Canes up by two late in the third period.

It feels like the offensive drought of December was such a long time ago seeing as the Canes are having few issues scoring in bunches now. It’s unrealistic to score six goals every game, but if they can continue to put up three or more every night their odds of winning skyrocket. They will need to keep getting contributions from their blue line if they want to keep up this pace, but with guys like Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Dougie Hamilton heating up, there’s no reason to believe that isn’t possible.

The Bad - Almost Letting Skinner Steal The Game

It has been a rough few weeks when it comes to former Hurricanes scoring against the current Hurricanes. Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan and Noah Hanifin all scored on Sunday when the Flames were in town. Jeff Skinner scored when the Sabres were in town back in January. (Amazingly Matt Cullen did not score against the Canes on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.) But the show continued last night — once again, at the hands of Skinner.

Everyone on the Canes knows how dangerous Skinner is and how motivated he is going to be against Carolina, and yet they still allowed him to nearly steal the game from them.

Skinner scored his first of the game in the third period when the Sabres were down 3-2. In typical Skinner fashion the goal was one for the highlight reels as he completely outworked Justin Faulk and beat Curtis McElhinney.

That was bad enough but it only gets worse. Skinner would once again score to tie the game but this time it was with less than a minute to go and the Sabres had their goaltender pulled. Somehow the defense for Carolina let Skinner creep in all alone and he was set up by Sam Reinhart for the game tying tally.

That goal was allowed because every Carolina player got puck focused. They were trying to hold on the lead late and let #53 get wide open. That play gifted Buffalo a point in the standings that the Canes desperately did not want to give up.

Jeff Skinner has always been a very competitive person and one day we won’t be taken aback by him scoring goals against the Canes. Right now the wounds are still very fresh from his trade and from seeing how well he has succeeded in Buffalo. It was easy to see he was out to break the hearts of every one of the Hurricanes last night and they almost let him pull it off.

Just as when you play the Penguins and you have to know where Sidney Crosby is at all times or Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals, you absolutely have to know where Skinner is at all times when you play against him. The Hurricanes failed miserably at that last night and they have to hope that single point does not cost them in April.

The Great - Turbo Time

Teuvo Teravainen continues to prove night in and night out that he is much more than Sebastian Aho’s sidekick. Turbo is a valuable asset to the Hurricanes and he has earned every penny of his new contract. Last night he scored three points including the game winning goal in overtime in just another example of how good he really is.

After the puck rimmed around the board Teravainen was set up with a breakaway to end things in overtime. He pulled a fancy little deke out of his back pocket and sent the Canes off to New York City with two points.

After the game Teuvo could have taken all the credit but he chose to credit the entire team. As an entire group they pulled off a much needed victory but they couldn’t have done it without Teuvo.

Moral of the Story

If you didn’t know, now you know: the Carolina Hurricanes are hot. They have won the two biggest games of the road trip already and now have a chance to break their nearly decade-long curse in Madison Square Garden. It took a while, but Rod Brind’Amour has the team headed in the right direction. They all care for each other and are playing together as one unit. That is the recipe for success. You can have all the talent in the world but if they don’t come together as one they will never win.

Caring about one another and giving it their all every night has led to numerous victories like last night. These are games we have become accustomed to seeing the Canes lose over the years but they are finding ways to get it done. They face a tough challenge tonight but if they can find a way to break the curse of MSG on top of their last two massive victories, you may want to start clearing your calendar for April.