After back-to-back tough losses in Alberta, the Carolina Hurricanes looked to close out their five-game Pacific Division road trip on a high note.
Luckily for them, their opponent was the Vancouver Canucks, the only team in the NHL still without a win in 2022-23. After Monday night, they remained winless, and the Hurricanes improved to 4-1-1 on the season with a 3-2 win.
An early interference penalty on Dakota Joshua gave the Hurricanes the game’s first power play at 5:55, and they didn’t waste much time getting on the board.
Martin Necas dished a beautiful cross-seam pass to the tape of Andrei Svechnikov at the backdoor of the Vancouver net, and the red-hot winger continued his goal-scoring rampage.
Svechnikov’s powerplay tally marked his seventh goal of the young season, putting him in a tie for first place with Steven Stamkos in NHL goal-scoring.
Shortly after the opening goal, it looked like the Hurricanes had extended their lead to two when Derek Stepan managed to sneak a low shot by the pad of Thatcher Demko, but the goal was immediately waived off for goalie interference.
Rod Brind’Amour challenged the call on the ice, but after a short review, the no-goal was confirmed. Tough luck turned into a sequence of unfortunate events when Vancouver tied the game on the ensuing power play.
J.T. Miller tapped a perfect backdoor pass from Bo Horvat by Frederik Andersen to make it a 1-1 game.
The two clubs remained knotted up at a goal apiece through the next 28+ minutes of play. Carolina had two opportunities on the power play in the second half of the middle frame, but they failed to mount much in the way of scoring chances.
The offense returned early in period three.
Seth Jarvis made a great move to the net, creating a scoring chance for himself and a rebound for Sebastian Aho, who flew in unmarked on the trailer for one of the easiest goals of his career to make it 2-1 just 50 seconds into the third.
37 seconds later, the Canes’ checking line got in on the scoring. Jordan Staal sent a puck toward the net, and Jesper Fast was there to redirect the shot off of his skate and by Demko to double their lead.
The Hurricanes dominated the first half of their final period on the road trip, outshooting the Canucks 9-1 in the first eight minutes of the frame. Luck doesn’t always favor the dominant, though, and it certainly didn’t when a wild bounce resulted in another Vancouver goal to bring the game within one.
A dump-in hit Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the face, redirected almost perfectly to the stick of J.T. Miller in the slot, and the fourth-year Canuck forward rifled his opportunity right by the outstretched glove of Andersen with 8:20 to go in regulation time.
After the flukey goal, what felt like a comfortable lead was suddenly anything but. The Canucks started to collect some opportunities, though most of them came on the rush and not as a result of puck possession in the offensive zone. Very few of those chances actually got on the net, thanks to some fortunate bounces and the putrid finishing ability you would expect out of a 0-4-2 hockey team.
The Canucks pulled Demko with around 2:20 to go in the third period, setting the table for one last attempt from the winless home team. They controlled possession and flung some pucks on the net, but they were mostly point shots that didn’t get through traffic.
Miller had a great chance for a hat-trick goal on a broken play with 30 seconds left, but his shot from the left circle was wired high and wide of the net, and the Hurricanes closed things out.
It wasn’t always the way they drew it up, but the Hurricanes managed to get out of Western Canada with a big win to close out a 3-1-1 road trip.
The Hurricanes will return home and get a nice break before hitting the ice again on Friday against the New York Islanders.