The Canes’ offense — which in its own right is a fully operational battle station — was clicking early and after jumping out to an early lead they didn’t let up, suffocating the Kraken through 60 minutes.
The final score made the game seem closer than it actually was and a big reason for that can be chocked up to goaltending.
You usually can’t say a goaltender who allowed three goals has a good game, but Philipp Grubauer was a force for Seattle and the only reason that game didn’t turn into a complete rout.
According to MoneyPuck.com, Grubauer saved 1.81 goals above expected as he turned aside wave after wave of Hurricane pushes.
And the goals that beat him? Turnover in front, top corner snipe from the slot, a penalty shot. Grubauer was good even in the face of Carolina’s dominant showing.
Pyotr Kochetkov on the other hand was a bit hot and a bit cold.
The rookie netminder wasn’t tested very much, perfect through half of the game and managing to extend his shutout streak to 151:26 — the longest streak in franchise history by a rookie netminder and sixth longest in team history by any goalie — before finally getting beat on a double deflection in front.
That was the good, but a leaky goal allowed to Daniel Sprong in the third period from the far end of the right circle made the game much closer than it needed to be.
The game got going early in Carolina’s favor as the Canes went to work just imposing their game on the Kraken and halfway through the first period they struck.
Poor puck management by Seattle in their own zone saw the puck bounce past two Kraken skaters and Andrei Svechnikov merely skated past them, collected the puck and beat Grubauer stick-side high on a quick wrister for his team leading 16th goal of the season.
And not long after Carolina’s team goal leader got one, it was somebody on the Canes getting their first of the season.
The fourth line has been so good and dependable as of late and tonight was no different, outchancing their opposing lines 12-5.
And finally, after a disallowed goal earlier in the year and countless opportunities stoned, Derek Stepan finally broke through.
On a quick rush up the ice, Stepan and Jack Drury hit up a small give and go and Drury found Stepan down the middle of the ice with plenty of space. Stepan flipped off his targeting system and trusted in the force, wiring the shot into the top corner of the net.
Stefan Noesen even joined in on the fun after being awarded a penalty shot after he was impeded after nearly getting loose for a breakaway.
He came in, wound up, and just ripped it bar-down to beat Grubauer old school style. Never tell him the odds.
Noesen’s penalty shot goal was the first by a Hurricanes skater since Jeff Skinner in 2017.
Anybody remember this barn burner?
Despite the Kraken grabbing two more goals, the Canes would keep pushing and virtually locked it down from there on out to grab their third win in a row and extend the point streak to nine games.
The Hurricanes will continue the homestand as they welcome the Dallas Stars, the top team in the Central Division, to PNC Arena on Saturday night.