She’s a series now.
Those were the words of former Hurricanes play by play man John Forslund in 2006, when Eric Staal gave the Canes a game three overtime win in Montreal after losing the first two games on home ice. They hold true tonight after Eric’s younger brother, Jordan Staal, gave the Canes a 3-2 overtime win in game three against the Tampa Bay Lightning to put Carolina on the board in this series.
After the Canes killed the remainder of a penalty left over from the end of regulation to start overtime, Carolina got its own chance to end the game on a power play after Nikita Kucherov was whistled for holding the stick in the offensive zone. Aho sniped a shot from the circle that Staal tipped home to make it a 2-1 series.
The Canes again bounced back from adversity in this one, winning it in overtime after the Bolts erased their 2-0 lead in the second period.
The discussion heading into this one was Brind’Amour’s decision to switch from Alex Nedeljkovic to Petr Mrazek, who hadn’t started since May 10. Mrazek gave no reason to second guess the decision, however, as he was stellar, stopping 35 of 37 shots. He made big saves when called upon all night, especially in a third period that saw the ice tilted against the Canes.
Brind’Amour also opted to reunite the line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, and that also paid off, with the trio factoring in on all three of the Canes’ goals.
While it took the Lightning 5:18 to record their first shot on goal, it didn’t take long for Mrazek to face his first “big save” test of the night, and he passed it with flying colors, denying Victor Hedman on a 3-on-2 about seven minutes in to keep things scoreless.
Tampa continued to mount pressure from there, but Mrazek stayed sharp to keep the Bolts off the board amid a flurry of chances over the next few minutes.
The Canes got their first grade-A a little over halfway through the period, as Dougie Hamilton hit Brock McGinn with a stretch pass for a chance in alone that Vasilevskiy stopped.
Dougie Hamilton with a great, deceptive pass to Brock McGinn to set up a scoring chance on the rush. pic.twitter.com/47rwCBhpY1— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) June 4, 2021
The Canes got the game’s first power play with a few minutes left in the first as Nikita Kucherov got the gate for interference after a blindside hit on Brett Pesce that incensed the Canes’ defenseman and sent him to the locker room.
Nikita Kucherov with a late hit on Brett Pesce after he had dumped the puck into the Tampa zone. Kucherov gets called for interference. pic.twitter.com/PZaDSeYYuQ— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) June 4, 2021
As has too often been the case in this series, however, the power play generated nothing, and the Canes and Bolts skated to the room scoreless.
Pesce returned to start the second period, and wasted little time making his presence felt. After Aho and Svechnikov entered the zone on a two-on-one, Svechnikov found himself without a passing lane across to Aho or good shooting angle. He instead pulled up, used hi strength to protect the puck and waited for Pesce to enter the play with a good shooting lane. Svechnikov dished it back to No. 22, who wired it home to give the Canes a 1-0 lead 5:15 into the second.
Brett Pesce's perfect shot gives the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in game three! pic.twitter.com/4diaW5axHd— y - Canes Country (@CanesCountry) June 4, 2021
The goal gave Carolina its first lead of the series, and was the second time of the postseason the Canes scored first.
The Canes doubled their lead just over two minutes later, as Jaccob Slavin fed a stretch pass up to Teravainen at center ice, and Teravainen hit Aho with a perfect one-touch pass for a partial breakaway. The Canes’ top scorer beat Vasilevskiy five-hole to make it 2-0.
Oh, this is just perfect. pic.twitter.com/cCXymh4fdh— y - Canes Country (@CanesCountry) June 4, 2021
The two-goal lead was short lived, however, as a cross-checking penalty for Aho put the Bolts’ lethal power play on the ice. Some precision passing led to a tap-in goal for Brayden Point to make it 2-1.
With about four minutes left in the second, the Canes were again reminded of why putting Tampa on the power play was a bad idea, as Alex Killorn tallied on the man advantage to wipe out Carolina’s 2-0 lead and tie it up.
With Warren Foegele in the room and the Canes down a man, the Lightning came with a big push to start the third but Mrazek again came up big with several sharp saves.
The Bolts’ power play again got a chance to go to work with 1:08 left in the third period after a questionable tripping call against Dougie Hamilton, but the Canes managed to kill the first portion of it and send the game to overtime.