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Canes overcome slow start, beat Flames for fifth straight win

The Carolina Hurricanes came out of the gate slow but turned it on in a big way Friday night, beating the Flames 6-3 in PNC Arena.

Calgary Flames v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes can’t stop winning.

The Canes started Friday night’s game in PNC Arena against the Flames abysmally, but left the first period tied 1-1 thanks to a late goal from Jesper Fast, who was playing in his 500th NHL game.

Carolina turned it on after that, as three straight goals from Derek Stepan, Andrei Svechnikov and Tony DeAngelo in the second period gave the Hurricanes a 4-1 advantage that Calgary cut to 4-3 but couldn’t fully overcome.

Brady Skjei, who had a three-point night, made it a 5-3 game late in the third period, with Svechnikov adding his second of the night shortly after. For the Flames, Blake Coleman, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau were the goal scorers.

Despite the three goals given up, Frederik Andersen was fantastic for the Hurricanes between the pipes, doing everything he could in the opening period to keep the Flames to just one goal. In total, Andersen stopped 36 of 39 shots faced. Dan Vladar was the losing goal, making 31 saves on 37 shots.

To be blunt, the start of this one for the Canes was a big old flaming pile of...yeah. Carolina came out of the gate on its heels, turning the puck over at every given opportunity and letting Calgary pile up some early chances.

The Flames got the game-opening goal 5:12 in, as an abysmal turnover from Jordan Staal gave Coleman and easy lane in on net for the goal. Carolina continued to struggle, putting together an ugly power play and killing a Teuvo Teravainen penalty thanks to Andersen and Andersen alone.

But after the final media timeout of the first period, one where Rod Brind’Amour had some words for his team on the bench, the Canes came out and looked pretty good. Carolina got back to its game and got a huge game-tying goal from Fast, who scored a goal in his 500th NHL game after redirecting a Brett Pesce shot past Vladar.

To head into the first intermission tied up after the opening 15 minutes of hockey was an absolute blessing for the Hurricanes, and it’s something Carolina rode into the middle frame.

The Canes actually struggled a bit again to open up the second period, but the floodgates opened up as Carolina scored three goals in five minutes to open up a 4-1 lead. The first came from Stepan, his fourth of the season, as he collected a loose puck in the middle of the ice and slotted it past Vladar after Steven Lorentz had made a strong drive to the net.

Less than two minutes later Svechnikov doubled Carolina’s lead, as a fairly week shot trickled through Vladar and over the line. Svechnikov made a great play to control the puck in the neutral zone, carrying it into the zone and getting a shot off. Putting pucks on net is always good, folks.

And it became 4-1 a few minutes after that, as a scramble in front of Calgary’s net ended in DeAngelo blasting home a rebound after Sebastian Aho nearly scored himself.

The Flames did get a big goal less than a minute later, cutting it to a 4-2 game before the second intermission thanks to Tkachuk. And then nine minutes into the third period, Calgary brought out an unbelievable set play to make it 4-3.

Erik Gudbranson controlled the puck behind Calgary’s net and delivered an inch-perfect stretch pass to Gaudreau, who had blazed behind some blown coverage from the Canes to get a one-on-one shot with Andersen. He didn’t miss.

Shortly after the Gaudreau goal, the Hurricanes faced a huge task as Svechnikov went to the box for holding. The Canes’ PK, as it had been all night, was phenomenal, calmly clearing the puck out anytime Calgary got close to settling it in the offensive zone.

After an empty power play the Hurricanes got the insurance goal they were looking for at even strength, as Skjei remained on fire with his third goal in the last two games and his third point of the night. Skjei unleashed a shot past Vladar, making it 5-3.

Svechnikov made it 6-3 shortly later, as Carolina erased what was an ugly start to win big against the Flames.

The Canes will be right back at it Saturday night, as they play host to the Florida Panthers.