It’s been a minute since the 2019-20 NHL season unexpectedly (and, at the time, unknowingly, came to a close). Over the next six weeks, we’ll be refreshing your memories with brief, month-by-month recaps of the regular season heading into the NHL’s return to play.
Month Record: 8-3-1
Top scorers: Dougie Hamilton (6-7-13)
Andrei Svechnikov (5-7-12)
Teuvo Teravainen (2-8-10)
Erik Haula (2-7-9)
The opening month of the 2019-20 regular season was good to the Hurricanes. Very good. The team finished the month 8-3-1 with 17 points in 12 games, good for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Much of that strong start was buoyed by the longest winning streak to begin a season in franchise history, as the Canes opened the year 5-0-0.
On opening night against the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina started its run as the comeback kids. After opening a 2-0 lead on goals by Lucas Wallmark and Martin Necas, the Canes trailed 3-2 heading into the final frame. Offseason trade acquisition Erik Haula then tied the game at three. Haula had a red-hot first month as a Hurricane, with seven goals and nine points in 12 games.
Carolina won the game on a shootout winner by Dougie Hamilton and three saves by Petr Mrazek; Hamilton’s stellar, injury-shortened campaign also started with a bang, as he posted six goals and 13 points.
That trend of third-period comebacks continued through the first three games. In game number two, as the Canes returned to Washington for the first time since Brock McGinn won game seven last season, the team trailed 2-0 going into the third.
Haula and Jaccob Slavin tied the game, and newcomer Jake Gardiner got it done in overtime. The win was also James Reimer’s first as a Hurricane.
Game three was more of the same. The Canes trailed Tampa Bay 3-1 entering the third despite outshooting the Lightning 33-11 through two periods (and not allowing a shot on goal in the middle frame). After Haula and Hamilton (sensing a theme here?) tied the game, Slavin pushed the Canes to 3-0 by finishing a two-on-one in overtime.
Following blowout wins over the Panthers and Islanders, the Columbus Blue Jackets handed the Canes their first loss of the season, a 3-2 defeat on their home ice. Carolina bounced right back with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings and Mrazek’s first shutout of the year to start a four-game road trip.
The team then hit a rough patch with a three-game skid (though one came in overtime), before finishing the month strong with a 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
That win over the Flames, of course, came with the first of two memorable goals for Andrei Svechnikov. With the Canes trailing 1-0 about nine minutes into the third period, and David Rittich swatting aside shot after shot, Andrei broke out “The Svech” for the first time, tying the game with the first successful NHL lacrosse goal.
As if that wasn’t good enough, Svechnikov then scored the game winner on the power play. Svechnikov also got off to a great start, with five goals and 12 points.
All in all, October 2019 was an excellent start to what ended being a bit of a roller coaster of a regular season.