A comeback effort fell short Sunday night for the Carolina Hurricanes in Vancouver, as the Canes fell to the Canucks 2-1 despite a brilliant effort from Antti Raanta in net.
The Canucks tallied a goal in each of the first two periods, with Brock Boeser scoring late in the first and Elias Pettersson making it 2-0 midway through the second. The Canes battled back in the third, getting their lone goal on a marvelous forehand-backhand move from Martin Necas that beat Thatcher Demko.
The goalies were both on their game Sunday night, with Raanta the best player in a white sweater. He stopped 24 of 26 shots faced, making a handful of incredible saves in the game, particularly down the stretch to keep the Canes alive. Demko made 28 saves to get the win.
The first period was an interesting one for the Canes. Carolina was the better team through the first 20 minutes, controlling the puck and the action and even having a game-opening goal (rightfully) taken off the board for a puck being played by a high stick.
Raanta was strong, stopping a couple good looks from Vancouver, but it was the Canes who really dictated the play. That, of course, wasn’t what the scoreboard reflected, though.
Late in the first period the Hurricanes had an all-around defensive lapse, failing to clear the puck from the zone as a puck bounced off a Carolina skate and made its way to Boeser in the center of the ice. He beat Raanta to make it 1-0, without much deterrence from any defenseman.
Shortly after the Canes successfully killed of the game’s first penalty the Canucks made it 2-0 in the second, taking advantage of another costly Carolina mistake. The Hurricanes turned it over in the offensive zone, which sprung an odd-man rush for Vancouver.
The Canucks worked that advantage to perfection, with Tyler Myers dropping a nice pass to Conor Garland, who threaded an assist to Pettersson for the snipe past Raanta.
The Canes responded fairly well to the Pettersson goal, buzzing for a stretch in the second period that included Seth Jarvis ringing the post. Still, the Hurricanes couldn’t crack the scoresheet heading into the second intermission, as too much hesitation and shots straight into the gut of Demko kept it at a 2-0 game.
Carolina, desperately needing an early third-period goal to kick start the comeback, got just that, as Necas got the Canes’ first a few minutes into the final frame. Seth Jarvis carried the puck and centered a pass to Necas, who used a beautiful forehand-backhand move to beat Demko with a highlight-reel goal.
Made this a GIF so you can watch it on loop pic.twitter.com/bHyifORdPR— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) December 13, 2021
Necas continued to do Necas things, as he used a burst of speed and fancy spin-o-rama to draw the first penalty against Vancouver a few minutes later. The Canes couldn’t take advantage of the man advantage, though, with the best look a heavy shot on target from Jarvis off a good cross-ice pass from Necas.
The Hurricanes kept fighting down the stretch, with Raanta pulling out about five or six of his best saves of the night to keep the hope alive for Carolina. The Canes, however, couldn’t pay their goalie back, as it stayed 2-1 until the final buzzer, though the Hurricanes gave one of the better extra skater efforts a team can give.
Up next for the Hurricanes is a trip to Minnesota, where a meeting with the Wild Tuesday night will end the road trip.