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About Last Night (Well, Yesterday Afternoon): Canes comeback, beat Devils 3-2 in crucial OT win

The Carolina Hurricanes battled from behind Saturday in New Jersey to earn the full two points in Pyotr Kochetkov’s NHL debut.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils Saturday afternoon, scoring two goals in the final five minutes of regulation to force overtime.

About yesterday afternoon:

Kochetkov’s debut

Another day, another rookie debut. Pyotr Kochetkov was starting in net Saturday for Carolina, and he did not fail to impress. He saved 17 of the 19 shots he faced, giving him an .895 save-percentage in his first NHL appearance.

“He’ll remember this game forever,” said Rod Brind’Amour.

And although he couldn’t speak to what this win meant to him, since he doesn’t speak any English, he was all smiles.

Seth Jarvis said, “He muttered out thank you” after the game.

Kochetkov is now the first Canes goalie to tally a win in his debut since EBUG Dave Ayres did it, and was the first rostered goalie to do so with the team since 2010. Although he didn’t face a myriad of challenging shots, he was able to stop a few big ones, including a one-on-one Jesper Boqvist shot.

“He did a great job,” said Brady Skjei. “I think he made some huge saves for us. He looked very confident back there. It was a great start to his career, and we’re really happy for him.”

Late third-period effort

The Canes found themselves in a hole once again, and this time it was a two-goal deficit. They did it against Minnesota and they did it again yesterday. They geared themselves up for a comeback effort and were able to do so in the last few minutes of regulation time, due to goals from Skjei and Nino Niederreiter.

While the comeback sure does make for an interesting story and great entertainment, I’m sure that fans would have much preferred a blowout win against a non-playoff team in the Devils. They couldn’t get their offense going early, but it struck when it really mattered, and that seems to be somewhat of a trend as of late.

“Obviously we were a little bit upset, but all year our team has been so good, so no one gets too rattled,” Skjei said. “It’s always pretty even keel. We know if we play the way our system is set up, then we’ll get some chances. And obviously we capitalized big tonight.”

The Devils were able to open their scoring on the man-advantage, and that was the last time they would do so, despite four chances. The Canes were lacking on their own power play, though, as they were unable to score on three man-advantage chances.

When push came to shove, they won the game due to a spectacular late third period effort, and a phenomenal play by Tony Deangelo and Jarvis in overtime. They gained the two points, and were able to propel themselves back to the lone top spot in the Metropolitan.

“We knew we had to get the win,” Niederreiter said. “If we want to get first in our division, we’ve got to win every single night, because the Rangers are not sleeping.”

The rookie does it again

Seth Jarvis has been absolutely rolling. He’s come out strong since his first game in The Show, but his improvements have been clear as day— and they’ve been noticed and celebrated. He was on the ice for nearly 17 minutes yesterday, and he came through in crunch time.

He scored on his only SOG yesterday, and it came due to a superb pass from Deangelo, who has been arguably the Canes best playmaker this season.

“He’s been in the offense every night,” Brind’Amour said of Deangelo. “He’s had countless grade-As over the last stretch. So, he’s always involved in the offense. Now he’s got a couple of assists and guys connected, but he’s been creating offense all year.”

Jarvis scored less than two minutes into the overtime period, gaining his first OT winner and fourth game-winner of the season and his career.

“I was a little scared,” Jarvis said. “I thought the goalie saved it. So, once I saw the ref went in and Tony was celebrating, I was pumped. It’s a really cool feeling. And it’s definitely a bigger goal than just mine for [Kochetkov] to get that win. He played so well for us the whole game, so to get that makes it a lot sweeter.”

Playoff implications

This game was a big one. Everyone knew it was a must-win situation coming into yesterday, but it was unclear who would be in net, and the injuries sustained recently threatened their chances at taking the win.

Nevertheless, they did it. Equally as important was the Rangers result yesterday— a loss to the Boston Bruins. This keeps the Rangers two points below Carolina for now, and gives the Canes a slight padding heading into their last few regular season games.

“It’s just good for the group to know when we’re down in these little moments, not playing your best, and can still find a way,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s what we’ll take from this game.”

What’s next?

The Canes (51-20-8) will be back at it Sunday as they face the New York Islanders (35-33-10) in Long Island. The Islanders will not make the playoffs this year, but they’re still a fairly dangerous team to go up against.

They beat the Canes in their last matchup in a 2-1 result on April 8. The Canes will need to figure out how to ramp up their production if they want to take the win this time around.

Frederik Andersen’s injury is surely something to continue following, but he will definitely not be back for today’s contest. Hopefully, he’ll be all set by playoff time, but it’s something to monitor as news arises on his health.