After Sebastian Aho won the opening draw in his first game since December 6, 60 minutes of unpredictably bonkers hockey ensued. At the end of it all, the Hurricanes had won their eighth straight game, but it was a mess.
The Hurricanes had a dominant first period, and against a bottom-dwelling team giving a young goalie his first NHL start, the combination of factors bode well for the home team.
The first shot that young Samuel Ersson had to face was a wrist shot through traffic off the stick of Jesper Fast. The shot found twine, and unfortunately for Ersson, it was a sign of more disappointment to come.
After Travis Sanheim tied the game at 11:03 with a great individual effort, the Hurricanes got the game’s first power play. The Flyers' penalty kill was remarkably passive against a struggling power-play group, which was a poor strategy. Martin Necas wired a shot from the top of the slot, and Stefan Noesen got his stick on it at the top of the crease for a much-needed power-play tally that put the Hurricanes back in front.
The Staal line capped off the period with another goal with just 55 on the clock. Jordan Martinook wrapped around the Philly net and fed a perfect pass across the top of the crease to Fast, who scored his second goal of the night and made it 3-1 through 20 minutes.
An early goal from Tony DeAngelo off of a lackluster sequence from the Canes brought the score back within a goal, but that wasn’t meant to last. Not on this night.
Andrei Svechnikov made a good defensive play to spring the puck up ice near the six-minute mark. He got into the offensive zone and snapped a gorgeous shot through the legs of Philly’s Ivan Provorov and by Ersson.
Two minutes later, a Brett Pesce point shot got deflected twice - once by Jordan Staal and finally by Martinook. Martinook touched it last, giving him his eighth goal of the season and his third point of the night. Staal got his third assist of the game on the goal, as well.
The end came early for Ersson (or so we thought), who got shelled in his NHL debut and pulled from the game before the halfway point.
Ten minutes of in-game time later, the game got flipped upside down again. Rasmus Ristolainen hit Seth Jarvis right into Carter Hart, Jesperi Kotkaniemi shot the puck into the open net, the goal counted, Hart got hurt, and Ersson was forced back into the crease.
The second period eventually came to an end, and when it did, the Hurricanes had six goals on 29 shots to go with a four-goal lead.
The opening 40 minutes were a gigantic mess for the Flyers. The closing 20 minutes were an almost-equally-impressive mess for the Hurricanes.
Nick Seeler made it 6-3 seven minutes into the period. Then, Scott Laughton scored a shorthanded breakaway goal 42 seconds later.
In the blink of an eye, the Hurricanes’ four-goal lead dropped to two. A few blinks later, their lead was just one. Travis Konecny scored a shorthanded breakaway goal fine minutes after Laughton and made it a 6-5 hockey game.
After starting the game two-for-two on the power play, the Hurricanes coughed up shorties on consecutive man advantages.
The Flyers racked up 16 third-period shots after having just 15 through two periods. With the Hurricanes looking all but checked out, Raanta had to close out a late one-goal game. The veteran didn’t look very comfortable doing it, but a few great saves kept the Flyers at five goals.
In an ideal world, the Hurricanes would have replicated their effort from periods one and two in the final frame and picked up a very easy win. That didn’t happen, but what matters is that they survived a highly-threatening Flyers comeback.
With the win, the Hurricanes are now on a franchise-record 14-game point streak. They’ve won eight consecutive games, overall.
The Hurricanes got three-point nights from Martinook and Staal. Svechnikov, Fast, Necas, and Pesce all finished with a pair of points. Raanta had another shaky night, but his 26 saves on 31 shots were enough to secure his seventh win of the season and his second in as many nights.
The team will be off for the next couple of days for the Christmas holiday. Their next game will be on Tuesday when the Chicago Blackhawks come to PNC Arena.