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Raanta, special teams excellence shoot Canes past Habs

The Carolina Hurricanes returned to action Thursday night with an impressive 4-0 win over Montreal, which featured a 3 for 5 night on the PP and 5 for 5 night on the PK.

Teuvo Teravainen celebrates scoring his second goal of the night during the game against the Montreal Canadiens, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 in PNC Areana.
Kaydee Gawlik

The Carolina Hurricanes returned from a 12-day break Thursday with a commanding 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in PNC Arena, one that featured strong play all around for the home team.

The story of the win for the Canes was special teams excellence, as none of Carolina’s four goals came at even strength. The Hurricanes went 3 for 5 on the power play, getting man-advantage goals from Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Seth Jarvis.

Teravainen also had a shorthanded tally, with the Canes successfully killing off five penalties on the night. Jaccob Slavin also had a big night on the stat sheet, collecting three assists.

An obvious part of that penalty kill was Antti Raanta in the Hurricanes’ net, as Raanta posted his first shutout as a member of the Hurricanes with a 26-save effort. In Montreal’s net, Sam Montembeault stopped 32 of 36 shots faced.

The start of this game was, well, expectedly rough. The teams combined for two shots over the first eight minutes, as the puck was bouncing and everybody looked rusty.

Things finally shifted thanks to a Montreal penalty, as Alex Belzile hooking penalty sent the Canes to the man advantage. Carolina worked a good power play, possessing the puck and getting some looks on net.

It finally paid off on the scoresheet in the last 20 seconds of the advantage, as Niederreiter did the good work in front of net to get the Canes out to a 1-0 lead. Slavin fired a shot into danger, with a good screen and tip from Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Niederreiter was there to clean up the rebound.

Montreal got its first turn at the power play a few minutes later, but it was Carolina that took advantage of that. The Canes got a good bounce and a good break for Sebastian Aho and Teravainen, with Aho feeding a nice pass across to his countryman for a beautiful wrister to make it 2-0.

Carolina killed off two more penalties late in the first period (and early in the second), as the whistles kept blowing. Raanta made a couple of big scrambling saves late in the first 20 to keep the Habs off the board.

The penalties continued into the second period, as the whistle blew to send someone to the box four more times. A Montreal power play was ended early as Jake Evans was called for hooking, and Carolina made the most of its shortened power play after an Ian Cole penalty came to an end.

The Canes dominated possession of the puck, with Necas lacing a beautiful cross-ice pass to Teravainen, whose shot was gloved by Montembeault. A few seconds later, though, Teravainen wouldn’t be denied, as another glorious pass from Necas to Teravainen was finished for his second goal of the night to put the Canes up 3-0.

The first 10 minutes or so of the final frame flew by, with nothing really happening on either end other than a few good saves from Raanta. But then the whistle blew again, as Carolina got another power play and took advantage of it again.

Just 17 seconds into the power play Jarvis unleashed a nasty wrister, beating Montembeault with a picture-perfect snipe to put the Canes up 4-0.

The Canes killed another penalty down the stretch, seeing out the impressive win highlighted by exceptional, exceptional special teams play.

Next up for the Hurricanes is a New Year’s Day tilt in Columbus.