The Carolina Hurricanes needed it and they got it Tuesday night in PNC Arena, beating Tampa Bay 3-2 to end a four-game skid and get back in the win column.
The big story for the Hurricanes was the power play, which scored not one but two goals, the first tallies on the man advantage in seven games. Martin Necas had the first one, scoring just his second goal in his last 26 games, while Tony DeAngelo added the second, his first goal since returning from injury.
Sebastian Aho had the third goal for the Canes, giving Carolina a two-goal lead near the midway point of the third period. Nick Paul and Alex Killorn scored for the visitors, with Killorn cutting it to 3-2 with the Tampa net empty.
Frederik Andersen had a strong game after a little bit of a shaky start, stopping 27 of 29 shots faced. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves on the other end, dropping the battle of two of the league’s top netminders.
There wasn’t much room to operate for either team in the first period, as chances were limited and the action was back-and-forth without resulting in many shots on net.
Things ramped up a bit in the final minutes, but the teams entered the locker room for the first intermission with just 16 combined shots on goal. Carolina killed off a late DeAngelo penalty, as things got a little bit chippy between the two sides in the final five minutes of the first.
Necas ended the Hurricanes’ six-game power play drought, and his own personal six-game goal drought, early on in the second. With Corey Perry in the box for too many men, the Hurricanes power play unit got to work and did some really great things.
And it was PP2 that came through, as Seth Jarvis blasted a wrister of the post from the circle. Ethan Bear and Necas played a little back-and-forth, with Bear slotting a pass to Necas who lasered one in past Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning knotted things up a few minutes later, as Tampa Bay got out on an odd-man rush and converted. It was the newest member of the Lightning, Paul, who scored the goal, redirecting one from Ross Colton to make it 1-1.
The Hurricanes went back to the power play and converted again to regain the lead, with another really active power play leading to a goal. It was DeAngelo who cashed in on this one, lacing a shot from the blue line through a screen from Vincent Trocheck.
The goal was initially given to Trocheck, but change later to DeAngelo’s.
Following some lengthy special teams time to open the third period, Aho made a phenomenal play to extend the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-1 midway through the period.
Jarvis made a strong play to clear the defensive zone and get the puck up to Aho, who calmly and collectedly carried it into the offensive zone in the midst of a swarm of Tampa players.
Jarvis got a tip on the puck that was turned away by Vasilevskiy right to Aho crashing the net. Aho controlled the puck off his skate and stuffed it in on the post just past Vasilevskiy’s skate, scoring his first goal in four games.
Things stayed chippy following Aho’s goal, with Andersen coming up with a few massive saves to preserve the two-goal advantage.
With 2:41 left in the game, Jordan Staal and Mikhael Sergachev were called for dueling penalties, giving the Lightning a 5-on-4 advantage with Vasilevkiy pulled from the net. The quasi power play for Tampa, one where the Hurricanes couldn’t ice the puck though, produced a goal from Killorn with under a minute to play.
The Hurricanes saw out the win, with Nikita Kucherov taking a cheapshot on Aho late to grab a penalty and really seal things up. Following the game, more words and shots were exchanged, with both teams coming together on the ice for a bit before heading to their locker rooms.
Next up for the Canes will be the Stars, who come to Raleigh Thursday night.