The Canes were able to rebound from a rough four-game stretch and beat Tampa 3-2 at home with the assistance of a special teams performance that was impressive and slightly unusual of late for Carolina. They scored two goals on the power play and were able to kill off four penalties to solidify the win.
A slow, sloppy first period
It wasn’t until the final minutes of the first period that I developed any sense of confidence that Carolina could take the win last night. It was only when Tony DeAngelo was in the sin bin and the Canes were able to showcase their almost-perfect PK that the dynamic of the game shifted and the Canes were able to utilize their strengths to get a few decent chances.
“You just have to go out there and battle hard,” said Sebastian Aho.
I was disappointed with the first 20 minutes overall, however, as this did not feel like the showing between two top contenders that most were expecting— from either side. There were a total of 16 SOG, only seven coming from the Canes, and there were only three high-danger chances. They failed to score in the first period for the ninth time in their last 10 games. It wasn’t long, though, before the Canes bounced back.
Necas knocks it in
Carolina’s power play has been good. Not great, but solid. Before last night, it ranked 8th in the league. Some may call it great, but I guess I may just be spoiled as a Canes fan, because I’ve been very neutral about the PP thus far.
Last night, though, it looked great in the time leading up to Martin Necas’ goal. They had consistent shots on goal, a few phenomenal chances, and the eventual goal from Necas. It was his 10th goal of the year, and Ethan Bear and Seth Jarvis tallied the assists. This goal made it 1-0 Canes, although not for long.
Less than three minutes later, Tampa got the equalizer and we were back to where we started— but with a bit more confidence and with a new sense of proven strength in the special teamers.
So, I already mentioned the first PP success, and I honestly thought that would be the end of it. I was happy with that— well, content at least. But the Canes had another opportunity on the man-advantage and they exceeded my expectations. They did it again.
“The power play was good,” DeAngelo said. “I thought we had good entries, moved it around well.”
DeAngelo scored on this one, firing through a great screen from Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck was even shown on a close-up after the goal yelling a profanity that I’m not sure if I’m allowed to detail, but it was fun to watch. His excitement is contagious.
Aho nets another
Midway through the third period, Aho was able to tuck one in and put the Canes up 3-1. It was a big one for him, as he scored his 28th of the year after having not tallied a point since March 13th.
It was a great effort that showed why Aho leads the team in goals scored this year. He’s a great playmaker, and in this case, a creative, phenomenal finisher.
The Canes remain at home and face the Dallas Stars (34-24-3) this Thursday at 7pm ET.
“We’ve been playing really good lately, and I think today we got a little bit more rewarded,” Andersen said.
It’ll also be interesting to see if the Canes new acquisition, Max Domi, makes an appearance in this game. It will have been just a few days since he landed in Carolina, but it’s possible that he’ll play sooner rather than later.
“He’s feisty, he’s tough, and he plays hard,” DeAngelo said.
In the last matchup between these two teams, the Canes were not able to eke out a win, and fell 4-1 to this Dallas squad. Roope Hintz scored his first career hat trick in the game, so he may be a player to keep an eye on as well. Regardless, the Canes could really use the win to maintain a spot at the top of the standings.