When two top teams meet, usually one of two things happens. A tightly contested, playoff-style, low-scoring game, or just an absolute barn burner of a night.
Saturday night was more of option B.
Each goalie — Antti Raanta for Carolina, Scott Wedgewood for Dallas — played well enough, but there were some leaky goals both ways.
Raanta, appearing in his first contest since December 1 a game in which he left after just two periods of play due to injury, made some truly athletic saves and, for the most part, kept his team in the contest. The stat sheet isn’t going to be kind to him, but the first three goals against were all redirections right in front of him, two of those coming on penalty kills.
He hasn’t been blowing anyone away with his play, but he’s been solid, however the routine leaky goal is leaving a bad impression in a lot of minds. Last night’s almost gave away the game.
It was just a bad moment, but he made some really good saves all game before that, and at the end of the day, the team still won.
In large part thanks to the goal scoring outpour by some of the Hurricanes’ top guys.
Stefan Noesen got the party going early on the power play, redirecting a Teuvo Teravainen shot in past Wedgewood.
Noesen had seen himself become a bit of an NHL journeyman and had not registered an NHL point since the 2019-20 season.
Last season though, he exploded in the AHL, leading the league in scoring with 48 goals and 85 points. The talent was still there. Seeing that, the Canes gave him another chance and now he has five goals and 14 points in 29 games this season.
Andrei Svechnikov then pushed the lead to two, after hopping out of the penalty box, rushing down the wing and ripping a wicked shot past Wedgewood.
However, the officials had to make sure everyone in the building knew that they were there.
On an ensuing power play, Joe Pavelski, the king of redirecting pucks, put Dallas on the board.
And then early in the second period, another tip by Jamie Benn on a double screen tied the game.
But soon, some calls went Carolina’s way and on a 5-on-3 power play, they struck gold.
Teuvo Teravainen finally got his first of the season, picking his spot right above Wedgewood’s shoulder to put his team back ahead.
Teravainen has long been the Hurricanes’ top power play guy and hopefully, with two more points, he can start to get the ball rolling.
But back to the referees... in total 13 calls were made in the first two periods of the game and because NHL officiating is entirely predictable, not a single one was made in the third.
The Canes are a team that loves to play at 5-on-5 and the constant influx of calls really disrupts that flow. If officials want to make calls, sure, but be consistent, because there is no chance that there was not a single infraction committed in the third period.
Seth Jarvis also is a man without fear. I mean he just took the puck straight to the net facing down three Stars in front of him and he scored. Unreal stuff by the kid to pushed his team’s lead back to two.
But Dallas is a good team and they don’t go away.
Yet another redirection in front beat Raanta as this time Tyler Seguin was able to get his stick on a point shot and the lead was down to one.
And not long after that, Jani Hakanpaa snuck in from the point and blasted a behind the net feed into Raanta who just couldn’t get the pads closed fast enough and a slowly trickling puck crossed the line.
The game was tied.
As has been the case so often for Carolina, overtime was the fate and it did not look pretty early.
The Canes opted to go one forward and two defensemen on the opening draw and when Jordan Staal lost it, they got pinned in for nearly two entire minutes. There were chances to get it out, but tired bodies couldn’t get to pucks and it wasn’t until Raanta made a big save on a Heiskanen rush that the team could get a change.
And the new crew immediately took over. Brett Pesce won the puck back and fed Martin Necas who flew down the ice into the attacking zone with Svechnikov by his side. The pass across to Svechnikov was a bit off, but he still got a shot away, however Wedgewood was there for the save.
But the puck was loose and Svechnikov pounced on it and managed to get it centered back out front where Necas outworked Heiskanen to get the puck into the gaping net.
Points in 10 straight and only two behind the New Jersey Devils for the Metropolitan lead. Seems pretty good to me.