The Carolina Hurricanes took care of business in overtime, and then did it again, Tuesday night in Tampa, beating the defending champs 2-1 thanks to a Martin Necas winner.
The Canes played a fairly complete game of hockey but couldn’t get anything past Andrei Vasilevskiy in the early going, sticking with it to tie the game midway through the third and get the overtime win.
Some takeaways from a very positive performance Tuesday night:
Deja vu, all over again
After the Canes tied the game and forced overtime midway through the third period on a picturesque power-play goal from Teuvo Teravainen, it looked like Carolina had won things a minute and a half into overtime on a rocket from Brady Skjei.
Skjei carried the puck into the zone and unleashed a nasty writster past Vasilevskiy, with the Canes celebrating a hard-fought two points in Tampa. It was not meant to be, however, as a league-initiated review ruled that Vincent Trocheck was offside on the play, and the hockey continued.
But no worries, the Canes did it again a few minutes later, and this time it counted. Necas beat Vasilevskiy with a great individual effort, patiently skating through the offensive zone and waiting for his window around Victor Hedman to send the Canes back to Raleigh with a victory.
You can't spell Canes without Necas pic.twitter.com/FfTioL2gEX— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 10, 2021
“We just try to forget about it like nothing happened and just play our game,” Necas said. “It’s a huge win for us to bounce back after the Florida game. Now we’ll just focus on the next one.”
Tuesday night’s overtime happenings were a great thing for the Canes, who battled through a frustrating game to win not once, but twice in overtime. Carolina showed resilience throughout the night, and it paid off.
“I think that was one of the key takeaways for me,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “To fight back and feel like you win it and then get ‘nope, you didn’t.’ It says a lot about the group. They literally just shook it off, better than I did. They were like ‘ok, let’s play a little bit more.’ It was a real positive game for us.”
It took the Hurricanes 49 minutes and 56 seconds Tuesday night to score a goal, as the 2019 Vezina and 2021 Conn Smythe winner Vasilevskiy was as good as ever in Tampa’s net.
The Canes weren’t short on chances, out-shooting the Lightning 31-18 and 22-11 over the first two periods, but Vasilevskiy was up to the task on everything. Tampa did a good job of forcing Carollina to take shots from outside, a big part in the Canes’ inability to get one in, but Vasilevskiy was also very good.
Through two periods, the Canes had 1.77 expected goals and finished regulation with 2.53. Carolina had seven high-danger chances for in regulation and just the one goal, while also going 0 for 4 on its first four power plays of the night.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re playing a pretty good game, you’re doing what we asked and getting some pretty good looks,” Brind’Amour said. “He was making some big saves. It was good to keep going. Keep sticking with it...I thought the guys just kept playing hard all night.”
But the Canes hung in there and kept sticking with it, as Brind’Amour said, and it paid off in the end. The final power play was a great one, as the Canes put a textbook man-advantage goal past Vasilevskiy, with Andrei Svechnikov getting a puck in deep to Trocheck, who delivered a perfect cross-crease pass to Teravainen.
As it showed in the overtime weirdness, Carolina also showed in regulation how resilient this group is. The Canes played the better game but weren’t getting the results on the scoresheet, a frustrating truth of playing against one of the game’s best goalies.
But Carolina stuck with it, and the result in the end was exactly what the Canes wanted it to be: two points.
“He’s a great goalie,” Teravainen said. “We know that. Everybody knows that. He played a great game. We’ve just got to put the pucks at him and create some traffic. We got a 5-on-3 and he lost his skate blade or whatever, and we still couldn’t get a shot past him. It was a good thing we got a couple, and it was a big win.”
Don’t forget about the guy on the other end of the ice
It can be exhausting for opposing fans to keep hearing about Vasilevskiy’s greatness, and while the Lightning netminder made more saves due to more shots against Tuesday night, Frederik Andersen was as good over in the other net.
Andersen stopped 17 of 18 shots against, turning away all four high-danger shots and all seven mid-danger shots he faced. The Lightning played under its expected goal total, with Andersen turning 1.45 xGA into just one goal against.
“Every win this year that he’s played in, he’s had a major impact in the game,” Brind’Amour said. “That says a lot about him. Tonight was the perfect example. We were playing a good game, real good. If they get another one, who knows what happens there. He held us in there, for sure.”
Andersen faced only 18 shots and didn’t have to make 30-plus saves to get the Canes to win, but he was exceptional when he needed to be Tuesday night. Not only did Andersen stop the routine, he also made some pretty exceptional saves to keep Carolina afloat in Tampa.
Andersen has been sensational for the Canes this year, and he was sensational once again Tuesday night in a huge, marquee win for the team.
The Canes played a really, really strong game in Tampa, and grinded out a win late after a night of some frustrating hockey.
It was a great rebound win for the team following the dud in Sunrise on Saturday, and it finished up the road trip with a much better taste in the mouth.
Now the Canes come back home for a back-to-back Friday and Saturday against the Flyers and the Blues.