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Recap: Hurricanes Shutout Lightning in Preseason Home Opener

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Hurricanes improve to 2-0-0 in the preseason after home-and-home sweep of the Lightning.

Kaydee Gawlik

Raleigh — The Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning iced almost entirely different lineups on night two of their home-and-home to kick off the 2019 preseason. Unfortunately for Tampa, a different lineup didn’t mean a different outcome, as Carolina managed to grind their way to a 2-0 win on night two of the preseason.

On Wednesday at PNC Arena, Rod Brind’Amour iced what was, largely, an NHL lineup - featuring all of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Nino Niederreiter and many others. The Bolts, on the other hands, put a number of young players out there after playing the likes of Steven Stamkos and Braydon Cobrun, among others, on Tuesday.

After a scoreless first period which featured some good scoring chances for the Hurricanes, but just a lack of timing and finish, Carolina came out of the locker room as the dominant team early on in the second period.

Just under five minutes into the middle frame, Steven Lorentz opened up the scoring. Julien Gauthier, a 2016 first-round draft pick who has showed steady improvement in the AHL, drover hard to the net with the puck and got the chance created. The puck ricocheted into the corner, Gauthier threw the puck back in front, and Lorentz was there to chip it in past Spencer Martin.

After facing stopping all six of the shots he faced through north of 30 minutes of action, Petr Mrazek was pulled halfway through the game, making way for Alex Nedeljkovic to see some action.

The reigning most outstanding goalie in the AHL made a number of outstanding saves through the remainder of the second period. In 9:38 of second period action, Nedeljkovic saw and saved eight shots (two more than Mrazek saw in 30:22 of action). Tampa pulled Martin and put in Zach Fucale at the same stoppage of play.

At the conclusion of 40 minutes of preseason hockey, the Canes were up 18-14 on the shot clock and 1-0 where it counted.

After successfully killing a hooking penalty on Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes went back to work in the third period, but they did so without Erik Haula, who left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Carolina managed some good scoring chances in the third, but they weren’t able to break through until the 5:06 mark of the final stanza. Clark Bishop hopped all over a mishandled puck in front of the Tampa Bay goal and sent a turn-around wrister right by Fucale to extend the Canes lead to 2-0.

Julien Gauthier certainly stood out in a a big way throughout the night, using his size and athleticism to ruthlessly drive the puck toward the net. It’s especially notable since he also played on Tuesday in Tampa and was the only guy to play in both ends of the back-to-back. He’s really making a statement entering his third season of professional hockey.

Andrei Svechnikov had a number of good scoring chances, as did many of the mainstays in Charlotte, like Clark Bishop and Steven Lorentz (both found the back of the net, as well). It was a grindy game and those two Checkers certainly were up to the task.

The goaltending was perfect, again for the Canes. Mrazek stopped 6 of 6 and Nedeljkovic stopped a very impressive 17 of 17 in their respective halves of the game.

The Hurricanes improved to 2-0-0 on the preseason with the win, which means Rod Brind’Amour remains unbeaten in regulation time in the preseason as an NHL head coach, dating back to the 2018 preseason - which is something.