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Recap: Canes top Vegas in wild shootout win

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Justin Williams played shootout hero for the Hurricanes yet again, as Carolina beat Vegas 6-5 in a shootout after a wild game.

Carolina Hurricanes v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

For the third time in their last seven games, the Carolina Hurricanes won in a shootout. And for the third time in a row, it was Justin Williams who played hero for the Canes.

Williams sealed a 6-5 shootout victory over Vegas in T-Mobile Arena Saturday, as his make along with one from Andrei Svechnikov sent the Canes home happy. Goaltender James Reimer wasn’t beaten by two looks in the shootout from Vegas, as he secured his fourth straight victory after stopping 33 of 38 shots faced in regulation and overtime.

It was the second time the Canes and Golden Knights have met in the past eight days, and it was the second time that the Hurricanes had to mount a third-period rally to get back into the game. This time however, the Canes were able to get over the hump and come away with two points.

Carolina scored four goals in a wild six-goal third period, thanks in big part to three third-period assists from Jake Gardiner. The Canes battled back from down 3-1 to up 5-4, but Vegas was able to force overtime with a late third period score from Cody Eakin.

For the Canes, Haydn Fleury tied the game in the third with his third career goal, while Martin Necas delivered a power-play effort to give Carolina its temporary lead. Sebastian Aho scored his 30th goal of the season and extended his goal streak to five games with an early third-period tally, while Teuvo Teravainen and former Golden Knight Erik Haula also found the goal sheet.

Vegas got the scoring going early, netting two goals within 70 seconds in the opening period to jump ahead to a 2-0 lead. Max Pacioretty scored the first, deflecting a Shea Theodore shot from the point past Reimer with Jaccob Slavin draped on him.

The second goal came from Jon Merrill, who backhanded a good pass from William Carrier past Reimer. Carrier brought the puck around the back of the net, getting some help from a slip by Haydn Fleury. Carrier delivered a great backhanded pass to Merrill, who was alone in the slot and able to control the puck and make it 2-0.

Everybody needs a little luck on a trip to Las Vegas, and the Canes got some great fortune late in the first period to cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 2-1. Teravainen skated down a deflected puck right before it left the Canes’ offensive zone, and he immediately lifted the puck towards the net to keep play alive. Teravainen’s shot found its way through everyone and floated past Marc-Andre Fleury, who took the loss in the shootout after stopping 29 of 34 shots faced.

Aho and Andrei Svechnikov picked up assists on the goal, moving Aho’s point streak to six games and Svechnikov’s to four games.

The Golden Knights regained their multi-goal lead almost immediately after the second period started, as Theodore made it 3-1 just 59 seconds into the middle frame. A poor pinch in the Canes’ offensive zone from Brett Pesce sprung a rush for Vegas, as Reilly Smith carried the puck down the ice.

Smith drew a couple Canes skaters, leaving Theodore all alone with Reimer. Smith delivered a perfect pass across to Theodore, who had an easy finish on some open net with Reimer coming across.

Apart from a very underwhelming power play, the Canes didn’t have much doing for them in the second period. Carolina did out-shoot Vegas 13-9 in the middle frame, but didn’t significantly challenge Marc-Andre Fleury in net.

Aho cut the Vegas lead to one goal just over a minute into the final period, working in the crease to find a loose puck and put it in the net. Teravainen laced a shot at Marc-Andre Fleury, who couldn’t quite control. The puck bounced for a second, making its way behind Marc-Andre Fleury and in the perfect spot for Aho to calmly slot it away.

However, the Canes took what could have been a demoralizing blow a couple minutes later, right after they had been gifted a four-minute power play thanks to a high sticking from Zach Whitecloud. Vegas scored a gut-punch shorthanded goal just 12 seconds into Carolina’s power play, as Stephenson skated the length of the ice and netted one past Reimer.

The Canes were able to break even on the extended man advantage as Haula, who drew the penalty on Whitecloud, beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a great stick move to cut the lead to 4-3 with over 15 minutes still to play. Gardiner delivered a fantastic breakout pass to Haula, who pushed a backhand through Marc-Andre Fleury’s five hole for the goal.

Carolina tied things up midway through the third period, as Haydn Fleury netted just his third career goal to beat Marc-Andre Fleury. Haydn Fleury blasted a shot from the point into the back of the net, beating the Vegas netminder up high. The goal was initially waved off for goaltender interference by Warren Foegele, but the call was overturned after a successful challenge from Rod Brind’Amour.

With just over six minutes left to play in the game, the Hurricanes got their first lead. Vegas’ Tomas Nosek gave the Hurricanes another power play after getting called for a tripping, and Necas and the Canes took full advantage. Necas received a good feed from Gardiner and ripped off a laser to beat Marc-Andre Fleury. The assist was Gardiner’s third of the third period.

However, the Canes held that lead for less than three minutes, as a bad mistake from Reimer allowed Eakin to tie things up at 5-5. Reimer tried to clear the puck out from behind the net, but had to retreat with Eakin coming in hot. Eakin was able to collect it and wraparound for the goal before Reimer was ever able to get back in position.

The Hurricanes had a huge penalty over the last minute of regulation and first minute of the overtime period, keeping Vegas from winning the game with the man advantage. The first half of the penalty kill delivered Carolina a point in the standings, while the second half kept things alive to get to the shootout.

Carolina will wrap up its four-game road trip Tuesday in Dallas, as the Hurricanes will meet with Stars in the American Airlines Center.