The Carolina Hurricanes closed out their road trip back east, against the same Philadelphia Flyers that they fell to on Nov. 12 — except this game had a vastly different feel to it, and an entirely different conclusion.
During their previous matchup, Carolina started Frederik Andersen, who was arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL at the time. It was truly a goaltending matchup, as proven by the 2-1 result that fell in favor of the Flyers.
Friday night, it was a battle of the offenses. Everyone was scoring, the question was simply, “Who’s going to score more?” Right out of the gate, it seemed as though Philly would control the game, scoring just 50 seconds in and winning a challenge call that would follow.
But that is far from how the game ended, as shown by the final score. Let’s dig into last night’s game:
An un-Philly-vable start
It wasn’t a great way to start the game, as Ivan Provorov buried one for the Flyers just 50 seconds after puck drop. To make matters worse, the special teams had a hiccup, as they allowed a shorthanded goal later in the period, making it 2-1 Flyers at the end of the first.
“It was a tough first shift, and then you give up a shorty,” Rod Brind’amour said. “But if you take that out of it, we had a really good first period.”
Despite losing a challenge for goaltender interference, Carolina’s penalty kill persisted, something we are also very used to seeing. They killed off that penalty easily, and even managed a few shorthanded chances during those brisk two minutes. The penalty kill last night was as expected, and they got the job done.
Did you hear that right?
Four goals in the second period? Just for the Canes? Yes, you heard me correctly. It was a monster of a middle period, and the Canes capitalized. Four players from each of the four offensive lines scored during this domination of a period.
It started with Aho notching his second equalizer of the night to make the score 2-2 just 23 seconds into the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen followed suit, scoring one of his own for the Flyers— but this was the last time Philadelphia would have the lead last night.
29 seconds after Ristolainen’s goal, Jesper Fast did what he does and he scored a big one for the Canes, his sixth of the season. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the game-winner and Steven Lorentz added to the lead, making it 5-3 after 40 minutes of play. This offensive outpouring got the Canes the win, and showcased the new lines and pairings fairly well.
Streaks, Records and Tidbits
I feel like I keep hearing about all of these monumental record-breaking statistics regarding the Canes, but I love them, so I keep reading them.
I hope you do too, because I’m about to tell you just a few.
- Last night, the Carolina Hurricanes became the team with the fourth-fewest games to reach 15 wins in a season, following the 2012-13 Blackhawks, 2006-07 Sabres and the 2007-08 Senators. I bring this up to point out that just because the Canes have lost a few games does not mean they have fallen down any sort of rabbit hole that they can’t climb. Carolina is number 1 in the league-wide standings, tied with a few teams at 31 points but with games in hand. They are doing just fine, and last night’s win reiterates that message and more.
- Andrei Svechnikov ended his 11-game scoring drought as well, with the final goal of the game to make it 6-3. He’s been contributing in many other ways, as he is not purely a goal-scorer, but his shot is deadly, so it was great to see him bury one last night.
- This is not a record or a streak, but I think it’s a good sign and deserves to be recognized. Rod Brind’Amour’s been testing the waters with new lines and pairings— and tonight we saw how well they truly can work when it’s all clicking. 14 players got their names on the scoresheet tonight, an incredible sign of balance. All four lines did their jobs. Even when they made mistakes, they made up for them, which I feel is a key part of being a Hurricane.
The Canes finally return home after a 12-day road trip. Carolina (15-3-1) has the early game Sunday against the Capitals (13-3-5), who currently are tied with the canes atop the Metropolitan division (Carolina has two games in hand). Just yesterday, Alex Ovechkin scored his 28th career hat trick, and his shot is dangerous. This could be a tough matchup for the Canes, but let’s hope for two points and the first Storm Surge in a long time tomorrow afternoon.