The 2021 Carolina Hurricanes continue to find new ways to win games. Monday night, their 10th win of the season, involved roaring back from an early two-goal deficit with six unanswered tallies, overwhelming the Columbus Blue Jackets with their offensive prowess in a 7-3 win.
The game saw five players: Brock McGinn, Teuvo Teravainen (McGinn and Teravainen had four apiece), Jake Bean, Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal record multi-point outings.
Here’s some key takeaways from the victory:
Another good night on special teams
The Hurricanes’ special teams units have been quietly good since a disastrous game in Chicago earlier this month, and Monday night was no different.
Carolina scored on both of its power-play tries, including a big goal by Nino Niederreiter, his seventh of the season, late in the second period to give the team a two-goal cushion going into the third.
EL NINO— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 16, 2021
Great passing from the Hurricanes on the power play - Necas to Teravainen to Niederreiter and the Canes have a 5-3 lead over the Blue Jackets. pic.twitter.com/3yuQJVFgud
The Canes also killed off all three of Columbus’ power plays in impressive fashion, with two different opportunities for breakaway goals shorthanded.
Team’s need their special teams to be difference makers to be successful today, and the Canes; have been, with the power play (27.9) currently ranking seventh in the NHL, and the penalty kill (80.9) ranking 14th.
Firing on all cylinders
The Canes have a deep, talented lineup, and it’s one that can simply over power opponents when everything is clicking. That’s what happened Monday night.
Whether it was Niederreiter and McGinn continuing to score big goals, Staal keeping up his torrid stretch since returning from the COVID list, or Aho and Teravainen finally looking like the high-powered duo they are, the Canes were attacking in waves Monday night.
When this team is clicking like that, it becomes very tough to beat.
“I think we have the depth in this locker room, and we know anybody who comes into our lineup is going to play our systems and do a good job at it,” McGinn said. “I think we have the confidence in this group right, and we’ve just got to keep playing our game no matter who’s in the lineup.”
A tough start, but quick response
There was a point in Monday’s game where it was tough to imagine a win of any kind, let alone a blowout. Columbus jumped on the Canes right out of the gate, scoring just 26 seconds into the game and taking two separate two-goal leads in period one.
The Canes stuck with it though, and, following an important goal late in the first from Staal, stormed out of the first intermission, tying the game and then taking the lead in just 19 seconds on goals from McGinn and Teravainen within the first two minutes of the period.
TURBO TIME— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 16, 2021
Teuvo Teravainen roofs it on Korpisalo, and the Hurricanes have charged back for 3 unanswered goals and taken the lead against the Blue Jackets. pic.twitter.com/ZTz1w70yAG
“We couldn’t have been much colder, so that was good,” Brind’Amour said. “We just got kind of, I thought, at the start of the second, doing it the way we needed to do it. We got rewarded. It doesn’t always work that way. It felt like we scored on our chances tonight that normally it takes a few more to get the goals to go in. But I thought we finally got somewhat of a game together in the second. We were fortunate to capitalize.”
For the Canes, however, there was never a panic when facing the two-goal deficits. This is a team with confidence in its abilities, and that knows it can make things happen it plays its game.
“It was like, we got down two and no one even had one thought they were going to lose,” Bean said. “It gives you a lot of confidence. We knew that if we just played our game, we’d come back and make up the goals. We just took it a little at a time. No doubts the whole time.”
Teravainen has had a rough go of it this season. The Finnish playmaker was one of the players who spent a stint on the COVID list and missed three games.
Since returning, it’s taken him a bit to get going, and get back to the level of play those that follow this team have come to expect from him as he shook off the effects of the virus.
His game’s been coming along the past few games, and, Monday night, he finally looked like his old self, making crisp passes to his teammates to set them up for goals and chances, potting one goal himself and even having another disallowed in the first period.
Teravainen acknowledged it’s been a tough road betting back to his previous levels.
“I think today was maybe the first day I started to feel a little bit better,” Teravainen said. “It’s been kind of tough with all the COVID and just haven’t felt normal. It’s been kind of tough. Hopefully it will get better now. It’s kind of tough to say, I just haven’t felt normal, I get tired really easy and the legs and the timing too because I haven’t played in a long time. I feel like it took a couple of games to get going again, but it’s starting to feel a little better now, so that’s good.”
Bean jumps on opportunity
Brind’Amour spoke about the team capitalizing on its chances, and one player who certainly capitalized on a chance of sorts Monday was Bean. The Canes’ 2016 first-round pick has dominated the lower levels with his skating and offensive instincts from the blue line, even being named the AHL’s defenseman of the year in 2019-20.
Despite his accolades and growth, Bean hasn’t been able to crack a deep Canes blue line. He played three games while the Canes were down five regulars on the COVID protocol list, but then it was back to the taxi squad. Brind’Amour said coming into this season that the team needs to see what it has in Bean.
The only way to do that is to get him games, and so the Canes inserted him into the lineup over Haydn Fleury Monday. Bean made the most of his chance, picking up two assists (the first two points of his NHL careeR), a shot on goal and +2 rating in 13:22. His ability to make plays from the point was on display, including on a well-placed shot tipped home by McGinn in the third.
Bean knows he made a good impression, but, in his mind, it’s just the beginning.
“I think it’s been a good start,” Bean said. “I have pretty high expectations of myself – I want to be one of the best defensemen in this league for a long time. This is a good step, but I’ve got a long way to go.”
Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see what the Canes do with Bean and their blue line. He certainly earned a longer look Monday, but the player he replaced, Fleury (who currently leads the team in blocked shots), certainly has done nothing to warrant a lengthy stay in the press box.
The issue is, neither has anyone else. The Canes currently have seven healthy, arguably NHL-caliber defensemen including Bean, and how they manage that situation and try to keep everyone happy will be an interesting subplot going forward.