It was a sold out “Whalers Night” for the Carolina Hurricanes as they faced the New Jersey Devils at PNC Arena and earned a 2-1 win. Antti Raanta and the PK saved the day to improve Carolina’s “Whalers Night” record to 4-0-2.
Let’s take a look at last night’s win:
Raanta thrives in first game since Jan. 1
In Raanta’s first start back from injury, he did more than impress— he carried the game. With loads of big plays and huge saves, Raanta allowed just one goal in the 2-1 win, posting a .960 SV% last night.
“He was the difference,” Rod Brind’Amour said. “He made three or four breakways and key saves at real big times. We weren’t at our best and their team was coming at us for a little while and he kept us in the game.”
Raanta earned first star honors at the end of the game, and deservedly so. During the period of his injury, the Canes tried on a few of their backup goalies, with Alex Lyon and Jack LaFontaine both getting starts, but last night it was clear that Raanta deserves backup goalie duties this year.
“That’s the Raanta I’ve seen steal a lot of games,” Jordan Martinook said. “When he gets going, it’s hard for pucks to get past him. That was kind of vintage Raants right there and I was super happy for him.”
Dougie returns, doesn’t play
Last night, Dougie Hamilton returned to PNC Arena for the first time since joining the Devils. Even though he didn’t play due to a broken jaw, the team and the fans made sure to honor his presence during the game.
Hamilton spent three years with the Hurricanes (2018-2021) and amassed 42 goals, 79 assists and a +50 rating during his time in Carolina. He was a key part to the team’s playoff successes and the core of the Canes defense during those seasons.
During a TV timeout, fans showed their appreciation with a loud round of applause during a tribute for Hamilton.
Martinook-Jarvis connect for a big one
Just a few seconds after an almost-goal from Jordan Martinook, he was able to net one on the second chance off the faceoff, with the help of rookie Seth Jarvis.
Eight minutes into the first period, Jarvis was able to perfectly set up Martinook with a pass from behind the net. Martinook capitalized, maneuvering himself into a perfect shooting position off his backhand. This was his second goal of the year, and it began the scoring in last night’s game, putting the Canes at a 1-0 advantage early.
Martinook has only played in 24 games this season, and has logged playing time in just two games since December 2nd. Between dealing with an ankle injury and COVID-19 protocols, this was a big highlight-reel goal for Martinook to hopefully gain some momentum.
“It’s just one thing after another for him, so it’s nice to see him contribute,” Brind’Amour said. “You know, come in, do what he does and get rewarded.”
Penalty killers succeed yet again, third period play
The Canes PK continued to thrive last night, going 3/3. Carolina currently holds the best PK% in the league, which is currently at 88.9%.
Another notable aspect of this game was the team’s ability to get back on track following a messy first two periods.
“I think everybody can agree that the third period was a little more like Hurricanes hockey,” Martinook said. “We wore ‘em down and didn’t let ‘em wind up. They’re skilled and they’re fast. You look at Hughes and Bratt, they get going and they’re on your heels a little bit. If you can play down there and take away their time and space and tire them out, then they’re not coming at you 100 mph.”
It had been exactly one week since the last matchup between these two teams and Carolina’s ability to rebound from the previous loss and a slow first couple of periods made all of the difference.
Mr. Svechnikov’s pattern
Andrei Svechnikov has a habit of making up for his mistakes, and doing so fairly quickly. Last night illustrated a prime example of this, as he took a penalty midway through the first period for cross-checking, and then was able to score just five minutes later. He skated with speed and power and was able to steer the puck in for his 15th of the year.
While his penalty could have cost the Canes their early lead, he was able to make up for the risk and, instead, double their lead.
The Canes (30-9-2) are back on the ice at PNC Arena tonight at 5pm ET, as the San Jose Sharks (22-19-3) come to town.
“We’re going to try to get refocused on the opponent,” Brind’Amour said. “There’s a certain way we need to play— like in that third [period], we’d like to see a little more of that consistency. There’s not a lot of time for adjustments between now and the next game.”
One player to watch out for is the presence (or lack thereof) of Teuvo Teravainen, who sat out last night’s game. It was noted that he’s not dealing with an illness, but just wasn’t feeling 100%, so it’ll be worth noting if he appears in tonight’s game against the Sharks.