The Carolina Hurricanes, or more appropriately the Carolina Whalers (? Hartford Hurricanes? Hartfolina Whalercanes? Who knows really?), won their third straight game Saturday night, wrapping up a seven-game home stand with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Whalers night.
Goaltender James Reimer was the hero in net for the Hurricanes, while forward Nino Niederreiter provided the game-winning goal early in the first period. Teuvo Teravainen added an empty netter to seal up the shutout victory.
A strong goaltending duo
How about that performance from James Reimer? Four days after allowing four goals on seven shots in an eventual overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, Reimer was back in net for the Canes and he was absolutely fantastic.
Reimer was the reason that the Canes came away with the win over the Kings, posting a 41-save shutout to completely take hold of the game. It was Reimer’s third shutout of the season, but his first inside of PNC Arena.
Reimer made save after save to turn away good efforts from the Kings, as he carried the Hurricanes to a big win on the second leg of a back to back. Reimer’s great effort was the Canes’ second straight shutout, as Petr Mrazek posted one Friday night against the Arizona Coyotes.
Reimer and Mrazek showed up huge to end the Canes’ seven-game home stand in style, picking up two dominating wins to carry with them as they hit the road next week. There’s a huge luxury in having two good goalies, and Mrazek and Reimer showed this weekend that when they’re on, they’re as good a duo as the Canes could ask for.
Reimer’s shutout also marked the first time in franchise history that the Hurricanes have had two goalies record three shutouts apiece in a single season - and they’ve done it in just 45 total games, so there’s plenty more time to extend the record.
A tally from Nino
The Canes’ game-winning goal came less than five minutes into the first period, as Niederreiter finished off a rebound after a Teravainen shot to make it 1-0. The goal was just Niederreiter’s sixth of the year, and his first nine games.
Niederreiter hasn’t been the offensive threat he was for the Canes last year, and his fairly pedestrian numbers don’t quite do justice to what he still provides on the ice.
Saturday night though, Niederreiter provided the offense. He positioned himself perfectly outside the crease, scoring after a great passing play from Sebastian Aho to Teravainen to Niederreiter. After the game, he admitted he should have shot the first time rather than pass back to Teravainen, but he got a second chance and made the most of it.
Whale, Whale, Whale, look what we have here. Nino Nied-ed that one. Big goal for Niederreiter, who has been playing great, from Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho. 1-0 Whalers. pic.twitter.com/QcCAaT8kXa— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 12, 2020
Niederreiter is one of the few guys on the Hurricanes who could potentially lose ice time with the return of Justin Williams, but if he can find the net there’s no chance his spot is the one taken. When he was acquired from the Minnesota Wild last season, Niederreiter’s offense burst out with the Hurricanes, and the potential to be a consistent threat is obviously there.
He hasn’t been as potent this season, but he proved Saturday that he does still have that scoring touch. For Niederreiter and the Canes, hopefully Saturday night will spark something in the Swiss forward.
Back to back success
With their win over the Kings Saturday night, the Hurricanes have now won the second game of a back to back three straight times. The Canes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning the day after a loss to the Nashville Predators to end November, and also beat the Washington Capitals 6-4 the day after a loss to New York Rangers to kick off the seven-game home stand they just wrapped up.
Saturday night against Los Angeles, the Hurricanes really didn’t look like they had just played a game the night before. The Canes came out sharp and energized, scoring early in the game and commanding play throughout the night.
There’s a lot that goes into winning on the second day of a back to back, and it’s one of the toughest things to do in all of hockey. A big reason that the Canes have had the recent success in these situations is the aforementioned goaltenders. Having two guys that you can throw in net and trust to get the job done is huge for a team faced with playing twice in a row.
Another big reason is the youth and energy that this Canes team brings night in and night out. The Canes are young and quick, and it doesn’t take watching this team too much to see that the group is clearly having fun out on the ice. The added energy of Whalers night also didn’t hurt Saturday, as the Canes wrapped up an important seven-game home stand with three straight wins.
The Canes finished the home stand on a positive note, winning the final three games to build a little buffer between themselves and the rest of the Eastern Conference wild card teams.
Carolina will hit the road for two big games against Metropolitan Division foes, starting Monday night in Washington against the Capitals.