The Carolina Hurricanes lost by a score of 4-3 in overtime for the second straight game, but it wasn’t a time to be heartbroken in Dallas as the one point they did gain secured their third consecutive playoff appearance, a first in team history
In terms of what happened on the ice though, it was a nationally televised game, so what else did you really expect to happen other than a loss?
The Canes just have some voodoo magic working against them on the national stage. There’s absolutely no reason that the two things would be connected, but the strong correlation is bizarre to say the least.
Only 16 seconds into the game, Dougie Hamilton took a careless hooking penalty and about a minute after that, Joe Pavelski banked the puck in off Jani Hakanpaa, who was laying in the crease, on top of James Reimer, and alongside Jason Robertson who Hakanpaa had checked in on top of his netminder.
The Canes, shorthanded as they were, needed a strong start to generate some momentum and hope to not rely so much on their top guys, but that idea went out the window pretty fast.
And near the end of the first, it only got worse.
On what should probably have been considered an illegal goal.
Esa Lindell shot a knuckler towards the net where it bounced a few times before Jason Dickinson in front used his foot to elevate the puck where it then went in past James Reimer.
The issue here is what the NHL is considering a distinct kicking motion. Dickinson 100% intended to use his foot to influence the puck, but instead of a direct kick towards the net, he made more of a chip shot. But that still should be considered a kick.
That period was one that the Canes needed to forget.
And they did pretty quickly as the second period saw a much stronger response from Carolina.
It all kicked off with a very unlikely name.
It was the taxi squad crew coming together as Morgan Geekie won a race to the boards and wasted no time sending it back up to the slot. It bounced into the air off the side of the net and Max McCormick was there to swat the puck in past Jake Oettinger for his first goal since November, 2018.
It had been a hard season for McCormick from accidentally injuring Petr Mrazek to himself getting injured in the same game to not really ever sniffing a callup, but the patience paid off for him.
And not long after, Jaccob Slavin tied the game on a great individual effort. Slavin found and isolated Andrew Cogliano who had lost his stick and cycled the puck from the top of the right circle, across to the left and down to the dots where he picked his spot and sniped it top corner.
But the Canes hardly had time to celebrate as another defensive breakdown allowed Jamie Benn to lace a puck cross-ice to Denis Gurianov who launched the puck like it was shot out of a cannon.
After that, the Canes seemed to start to come apart again but Reimer stood tall against multiple two-on-ones and in close chances to keep the score within one.
The third period then offered little for either team as Dallas defaulted to their shutdown defensive style limiting not just their own offense, but most of Carolina’s chances in turn.
However the Canes got their break with less than five minutes to go as Geekie set Hakanpaa up on a tee to redeem himself and take the game to overtime and secure the Hurricanes’ third-straight playoff berth.
It was good that at least some happy news came out of the game as Jamie Benn won it for the Stars after he got in all alone off a 2-on-1 break for Dallas.
The Canes will face the Stars in Dallas again Tuesday night at 8 p.m.