The Carolina Hurricanes secured a big point but ultimately lost in Tampa Monday night, falling to the Lightning 3-2 in overtime after overcoming a 2-0 deficit in regulation to get the point.
Carolina fell down 2-0 early in the second period, but a strong effort in net by Petr Mrazek and goals from Andrei Svechnikov and Brady Skjei got the Canes back into things. For the Lightning, Alex Killorn and Brayden Point scored early, while Yanni Gourde finished in overtime for the game winner.
With the point the Canes stayed one point clear of Tampa Bay in the Central Division standings, with the Hurricanes also still holding a game in hand. Mrazek was excellent for Carolina all night, coming up with some huge saves to ensure the point in the standings.
In total, Mrazek stopped 33 shots faced on the night, while Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win after turning away 25 of 27 shots faced.
After a fast-paced, tight opening 14 minutes in which neither team grabbed much of an edge, Tampa opened up the scoring thanks to a slight defensive miscue by the Canes and a great finish in front of the net by Killorn.
Jaccob Slavin pushed up ice but couldn’t get a piece of the puck, and Vincent Trocheck and Dougie Hamilton both unsuccessfully pinched on Tyler Johnson, who calmly got the puck centered to a wide-open Killorn. Killorn used a great forehand-backhand move, lifting the puck over Mrazek’s pad to make it 1-0.
The Canes had some chances of their own in the first 20 minutes, but a few good saves by Vasilevskiy and a few too many extra passes by Carolina kept the Hurricanes off the scoresheet in the opening frame.
Tampa Bay continued its momentum from the late first period into the second, as the Lightning made it 2-0 early in the second period on the power play. A long offensive-zone possession on the man advantage ended with a deflection goal for Point, who redirected an Ondrej Palat point shot past Mrazek.
The most dangerous lead in hockey, as they say, didn’t hold for the Lightning, as the Canes came storming back. The first came later in the second period on the power play, as Svechnikov netted his third goal in as many games from the top of the circle.
Erik Cernak took a penalty, his second of the game, for checking Jesper Fast into the net, and the Canes converted with the extra man just 10 seconds later. Dougie Hamilton settled the puck down after a scramble off the faceoff, lacing it to Svechnikov for the snipe.
Andrei Svechnikov with a power-play snipe to get the Hurricanes on the board. 2-1 hockey game in Tampa. pic.twitter.com/frKDeLvPxz— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) April 20, 2021
The Lightning carried the one-goal lead into the final period, thanks to a brilliant point-blank save by Mrazek on Pat Maroon, but it didn’t last long into the third. Skjei skated in on a puck just over a minute into the final frame, slotting a wrister past Vasilevskiy to even things up.
Though technically unassisted, Skjei’s goal was helped out greatly by some good work in front of net by Sebastian Aho.
Brady Skjei steps in and fires one by Vasilevskiy to tie the game in the third period. Sebastian Aho with great work in front of the net. Brand new hockey game. pic.twitter.com/hWMBvIwGZB— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) April 20, 2021
In a game that featured a playoff-like buzz throughout, things really escalated midway through the third period, as Killorn laid a heavy hit on Martin Necas that was met with Jake Gardiner dropping the gloves with Killorn.
The result of the chaos was an instigating penalty on Gardiner served by Nino Niederreiter, which the Canes killed off, and also an extended absence for Necas who went back to the locker room. Necas did return in overtime, a great sight to see for Carolina.
After a pretty fast-paced overtime period, matching the overall energy of the game, Gourde scored off a rebound to make it two points for the Lightning.
Neither team will get much time to recover from the up-tempo affair, as the Canes and Lightning will get right back at it Tuesday night.