For 57:23 of in-game time on Saturday night, the Carolina Hurricanes kept the Minnesota Wild off the board, but it only took one for the home team to spoil Pyotr Kochetkov’s bid for 6-0-0 as an NHL goalie.
Sam Steel’s snipe with 2:37 left in the third period forced that overtime, and Alex Goligoski’s finish at the net in the extra frame led the Wild back from the brink for a 2-1 win over the scuffling Hurricanes, who have lost back-to-back games in overtime.
It was all Carolina for much of the opening frame. Despite another troubling power-play sequence near the halfway point of the period, the Canes collected each of the first seven shots on goal in the game and eventually broke the ice.
Stefan Noesen chipped the puck out of the Carolina zone and set up Martin Necas and Sebastian Aho for a two-on-one rush. Necas got the puck across to Aho, and he hammered a one-timer by Filip Gustavsson for his ninth goal of the season.
Minnesota started to find the net after Carolina’s goal, but Pyotr Kochetkov was ready and helped them hold onto their lead through 20 minutes.
Brent Burns, who broke into the league with the Wild roughly 700 years ago, was a menace in the first period. He flew across the ice and created several scoring chances that very nearly led to goals.
The second period was far less lopsided as the home team got to their game and started to create more work for Kochetkov. Minnesota’s strongest push came near the end of the period when Matt Boldy sent a warp-around try off the far post. On the next shift, Kochetkov was forced to make his best save of the game up to that point on a point-blank try from Matts Zuccarello.
Aho’s tally all the way back in the first period held as the lone goal for the Hurricanes as the second period came to a close with a 1-0 score.
After 40 minutes of almost exclusively 5-on-5 hockey, penalties started to enter the equation in the third.
49 seconds in, Jaccob Slavin and Brandon Duhaime were given minor penalties - Slavin for tripping and Brodin for holding the stick. Two minutes of four-on-four hockey came and went without any scoring, but a Jonas Brodin interference penalty one minute later gave the Hurricanes another opportunity on the power play.
And again, that opportunity was wasted.
Checking got tighter, and tempers got hotter as the third period continued without a goal into the final five minutes. Kochetkov was tasked with making a couple of big saves in tight, and he was up to the task until the Wild finally found twine late.
With just 2:37 left on the clock in regulation, Sam Steel received a pass from behind the Carolina net and managed to snipe a gorgeous off-balance snapshot by Kochetkov’s glove.
That goal pushed the game to Carolina’s second consecutive overtime affair.
Kirill Kaprizov had a great chance to end it on the first shift but was spoiled by a great standing save by Kochetkov.
The Hurricanes had a chance from Aho and Necas, but they couldn’t recreate the first-period magic, setting the table for the Wild to go the other way for a chance they would capitalize on.
Steel found Goligoski pinching to the net, and the veteran defenseman narrowly avoided a backchecking Aho to score the game-winning goal in his 1,000th NHL game.
It was another disappointing night for the Hurricanes, who have lost back-to-back very winnable games in overtime. Aho’s early goal stood for most of the game, but the Hurricanes’ lack of offense in the second and third periods left them vulnerable late in the game.
Kochetkov was 2:37 away from posting his second consecutive shutout and was very solid with his sporadic workload in Minnesota. He stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced.
The Hurricanes had just 21 shots, as well, the fewest number of pucks they’ve put on the net in a game this season. They also went 0-for on the power play yet again on two chances, including one early in the third period that could have cushioned their narrow margin.
They will trek north of the border for their next outing, a date with the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on Monday night.