The Canes hit the jackpot in Vegas Tuesday night, beating the Golden Knights 4-2 to open up a six-game road trip in the best way.
Carolina took an early 2-0 lead, let it slip in the second and there scored two unanswered in the third, as Antti Raanta got the win in net and Seth Jarvis got the game-winning goal.
Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s strong performance:
Good things happen when you put the puck on net
It’s obviously easier said than done, but good things tend to happen when you put the puck on net.
Carolina’s four-goal performance was quite the reinforcer to that thought, as three of the Canes’ four goals came off of rebounds and guys getting high-quality looks towards the net.
The Hurricanes’ second goal of the first period came on the power play as Teuvo Teravainen blasted a hard slap shot low that rebounded heavily off of Robin Lehner’s pads and right to Sebastian Aho out front. Aho, of course, buried the chance.
This might be the fastest shot of Aho's career pic.twitter.com/INHhxXfNkB— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 17, 2021
Carolina’s game winner in the third was more of the same, as Ethan Bear rifled a shot from the point that deflected off a defender and found its way to Seth Jarvis, who finished it off.
And the insurance goal in the third game the same way, as it was Teravainen again who put a shot into the danger and Vincent Trocheck who was there for the rebound.
Yeah Tro's not missing from there pic.twitter.com/QppS6syk1c— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 17, 2021
“Especially in the first and third we really played our game,” Jarvis said. “I think we could have easily had over 50 shots. That’s a testament to kind of how we want to play. We want to put pucks on net, especially after faceoffs, and create a little bit of chaos. Good things happen when you throw it to the net.”
In the end, Carolina finished the game with 42 shots on goal, with 10 players putting at least three shots on net. It was good to see across the board, with even Teravainen making plays happen with his shooting rather than his passing.
A telling stat on how engaged the Canes were at shooting the puck: Lehner was the third star of the game in a game where he allowed four goals.
Offensive. Zone. Line. Changes.
The Carolina Hurricanes are a well-coached bunch, and they executed some flawless offensive-zone line changes Tuesday night that led to goals.
The Canes first of the game came from Tony DeAngelo, who sniped a well-placed shot past Lehner, but it was created by a great effort from Trocheck and Martin Necas.
Trocheck held the puck up at the blue line, allowing an offensive-zone line change to come in for the Canes. It worked to perfection, as Necas came barreling into the zone with a full head of steam, collecting a pass from Trocheck and working it across to DeAngelo for the score.
What a brilliant job by Vincent Trocheck. He picks up the failed clear, buys time for Necas to get to the zone off of a change and then moves toward the middle to pull his defender away from the wall so 88 can work in.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) November 17, 2021
Really, really strong awareness. pic.twitter.com/vPVCeWp8nz
“Defensively, that sucks,” Trocheck said. “Anytime you have a guy changing in the O-zone and you’re on the defensive side of it, you have to sort things out and make sure you’re picking up the guy that is coming off the bench.”
Trocheck did the dirty work on the first goal of the game, and he was rewarded with the score on a similar play for the Hurricanes’ fourth. This time it was Jordan Staal keeping possession in the zone, leading to Teravainen’s shot that rebounded to a freshly changed Trocheck on the back side.
“[Staal] made a very captain-like play there in the third,” Trocheck said. “He was the last forward standing there on the ice by himself, got the puck in, got the puck back, batted it out and made a change while we had possession still. I was able to just come on and finish it. I did all the easy work, and he did all the hard work, really.”
It’s one of those high-effort, hard-working plays that the Canes pride themselves in, and they were rewarded for it not once, but twice Tuesday night in Sin City.
Hey look, it’s Antti Raanta
Canes fans got something they haven’t gotten to see much of this year Tuesday, and that was Antti Raanta in net.
Raanta started the season watching Frederik Andersen start every game on his hot tear, started once and then came on in relief of Andersen and suffered an injury that has held him out since.
But Raanta was back on the ice Tuesday night in Vegas, and he looked like he wasn’t a guy starting just his second game in the last seven months.
“Our goaltending was really good tonight,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “That’s what it has to look like. He made some big saves and allowed us to keep playing our game. That’s a big part of the win tonight.”
Raanta stopped 21 of 23 shots faced, allowing two goals against an expected goals allowed of 2.64. Both goals he let in were of the high-danger variety, as he turned away all 12 of the low- and medium-danger shots faced. And most importantly, Raanta got the win.
He said postgame that he really started to settle in during the second period, despite the two early goals, and felt really good being back on the ice.
Raanta also gave a shout out postgame to Canes’ goalie coach Paul Schonfelder, who he gave a lot of credit to for helping him keep his head in things during his time away from game action.
Tuesday night, playing in one of the wildest atmospheres in the NHL, Raanta looked all the bit like his confidence is fully there, and he credited that to enjoying being out there.
“It’s always good to have a fresh mind and go to the games and enjoy the game,” Raanta said. “If you go out there and you’re worried about doing some mistake, you will make the mistake. So just go there and have fun. Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to play hockey and hockey was fun. That’s kind of the feeling you want to get again. Behind this team, it’s fun to play. Guys are battling. You want to be a part of that group. You want to show to the guys that you’re battling for them also. Lots of fun today, and we obviously got the win. That makes me happy.”
It was a great way to start the six-game road trip in Vegas for the Canes, with a W on the board, four goals and a strong performance in net.
Next up for Carolina is Anaheim Thursday night.