On the second half of a back-to-back, the Carolina Hurricanes looked to extend their winning streak to five games as they took on the Florida Panthers.
A vast majority of Saturday night’s game was sedated, but the finish was nothing short of spectacular.
The Hurricanes pounced all over Sam Montembeault in the early stages of the first period, and the Panthers didn’t offer their young goalie much of any help.
Brock McGinn came out of the box absolutely flying and absolutely scoring. A couple of steals in the Florida zone eventually led to McGinn’s eighth goal of the season and a good start for Carolina.
Just 39 seconds later, the fourth line got on the board for the Hurricanes. A great cycling shift in the offensive zone ended with Greg McKegg sniping a great centering feed from Lucas Wallmark over the shoulder of Montembeault.
Things changed quickly, though, for the Canes. After taking the 2-0 lead, they took their foot off the gas in a pretty noticeable way...
On an odd-man rush, young Henrik Borgstrom beat Petr Mrazek on what usually would be a routine save for the Czech netminder.
The Panthers went onto dominate the opening frame. The Hurricanes couldn’t seem to do much of anything right, and that finally led to Florida’s game-tying goal with just over eight minutes left in the opening period.
Mark Pysyk buried his first goal of the season off of an offensive zone face off win. The puck deflected off of Jordan Martinook’s stick and Mrazek couldn’t see the puck until it was far too late.
From there, it stayed all Florida. They could have scored far more than just two goals by the end of 20 minutes, but a couple of big saves from Mrazek and a dash of good luck kept the game at 2-2 going into the first intermission.
The pace of play through the first half of the second period was extremely slow. Missed passes, dump and chases, and a lot of sloppy hockey resulted in no goal-scoring, but there was a highlight reel play in the form of a big kick save on an unmarked Panther in the slot by Mrazek, who rebounded after a rough start and built a good game in the middle 20.
It took a high-energy play from a McGinn to break the tie score. Unfortunately for Carolina, it wasn’t Brock.
Jamie McGinn checked Trevor van Riemsdyk off of the puck in the Canes zone and centered it to Borgstrom for the Finn’s second goal and third point of the night.
With how the game was going, it looked like that goal was going to be the back-breaker for Carolina, but they pulled an equalizer out of their back pockets. Jordan Staal centered the puck from the blue line, and a pinching Brett Pesce chipped the puck up and over the shoulder of Montembeault to make it 3-3.
That goal forced this game to a 3-on-3 overtime. The Hurricanes were lucky to get the point, and they were even luckier to get the extra point.
One of the craziest sequences that you will ever see in the NHL rendered Sebastian Aho’s third game-winning goal of the week.
The Hurricanes are winners of five consecutive games, eight of their last nine, 11 of their last 13, and they are now 21-6-1 since December 31.
The hottest team in the NHL needed a miracle in Sunrise on Saturday, but like so many times over the last two months, they got it. The beat goes on for the Hurricanes, who have strengthened their hold on third place in the Metropolitan Division.