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About Last Night: Flying high in overtime

The Carolina Hurricanes blew a 2-0 lead, scored a late goal to force overtime and then won the game in a wild one in Philly Saturday night.

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

For the first period Saturday night in Philadelphia, the Carolina Hurricanes did what the Carolina Hurricanes should do to the Flyers.

Then things flipped, as 2-0 Canes lead in the first evaporated into a 3-2 lead for the home side as Philadelphia scored three straight goals over the course of the second period and early third.

But things ended in the right way for the Canes, as Martin Necas delivered an equalizer late in regulation before Brent Burns secured the second point with the overtime winner.

Some thoughts on the back-and-forth affair in Philly:

Martin Necas revenge szn continues

If there’s a Carolina player who needed a good start to this season, it was Martin Necas.

And boy oh boy has Martin Necas had a good start to this season.

Necas did it all on a game-tying goal with just 2:05 left in the game, gathering a pretty half-hearted dump from the Flyers in the neutral zone, skating it into the offensive third himself and unleashing a bombing wrister past Carter Hart to make it 3-3.

For Necas, the goal was his fifth of the season in just the Hurricanes’ eighth game of the year. He’s also already up to 11 points through eight games. To put that into perspective, he reached five goals in game 21 last year. He got to 11 points in game 17.

On his career as a whole, the five and 11 are by far the most he’s had through eight games. His previous highs were one goal and five points after eight games.

Necas is clearly playing with a high level of confidence, and that means so, so much to this Hurricanes team this year. With some playmakers gone (Trocheck, Niederreiter) and others that were expected to contribute injured (Pacioretty), the Hurricanes needed Necas to be this version of himself.

So far, so good.

Overtime excellence

Sebastian Aho, Brent Burns and Necas in overtime is a heck of a trio to roll out on the ice, and they showed exactly how you score a 3-on-3 overtime goal Saturday night.

Good spacing. Good passing. Good shooting. What more can you ask for.

Having Burns is an asset in overtime, as being able to put out a heavy shooting D-man like that is huge. Pairing him with playmakers like Aho and Necas? Forget about it.

This was a really awesome overtime goal. Nothing extremely jaw dropping in terms of a skill, but just a well-executed setup that opened up a big lane for Burns to shoot in. It’s fun to watch.

Staal line looking good, again

While definitely never being the most skilled group on the team, last year’s line of Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast was by far the Canes’ most consistent.

Saturday night in Philadelphia, with Jordan Martinook playing in the place of the departed Niederreiter, that line did it’s job and then some.

Staal scored the first goal of game in the first period, and then Martinook followed him up to make it 2-0.

With some shuffling in the top six, the Staal line played twice as many minutes as any other single line grouping against the Flyers, and it also had by far the best numbers. Together, Martinook-Staal-Fast had a 90.48 CF%, led the team with 0.74 xGF and also created a team-high 10 scoring chances while allowing just one.

For the Canes, if that line is doing that again this year, it’s a massive luxury to have. The top six is undoubtedly skilled, but having that third line that is just a nightmare to play against is huge for the overall success of the team.

In Philadelphia Saturday night, the Flyers had no answer for the Staal line.

Other thoughts

  • The game was the 1,100th of Staal’s career, and his 669th with the Hurricanes. He’s certainly not young and he’s certainly not the highest skilled player on the ice, but that longevity and his ability to still produce is impressive.
  • It was also a landmark game for Canes’ equipment manager Jorge Alves, who we all know the story of pretty well. Awesome gesture from Rod Brind’Amour and staff here:
  • If two games is enough to signify a trend, then the Canes have started an alarming trend of not being able to hold onto early leads. Saturday night’s game was fairly reminiscent of last Saturday’s contest against Calgary, where Carolina blew an early 2-0 lead and lost in overtime. It’s obviously not something to worry seriously about this early in the season, but just a thought.