The Carolina Hurricanes put us all through a whirlwind of emotions Wednesday night, but they came out victorious, and that’s all that truly matters. Let’s take a look at how it started and how it ended last night:
Slow as a snail
The Canes started out slow— and while “slow and steady wins the race”, they weren’t feeling overly steady either. Carolina was having trouble maintaining control of the puck and feeling out their offensive play, as they weren’t credited with a shot on goal for about the first 10 minutes.
“Give them a lot of credit,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “They played a really great game. For two periods they were the better team, no question. Especially in the first period. In the first period we were just not there. Raanta made a couple of big saves.”
It was around then that Antti Raanta allowed his first and only goal of the night, off of a shot from Filip Chytil. The goal was directly caused by a Tony DeAngelo turnover that led to the one-timer. It didn’t help that offensively, the team looked nothing like themselves.
The Canes took just one penalty last night, less than two minutes into the game. It was a high-sticking call against Nino Niederreiter, but it was equalized soon after by a Rangers tripping call.
The team was very disciplined, not taking any penalties for the remainder of the game. This is fairly rare to see for the Canes, especially after a heavily physical series against Boston that just came to a close.
A whole new team
The second period featured a slightly better Canes squad, but they still didn’t feel quite like themselves. They registered just six shots in the second period.
“We definitely knew that we weren’t playing our best game,” said Sebastian Aho. “We’ve got to play way better, obviously. But we still had a pretty confident locker room, I felt like. We knew that it was a one-goal game. It wasn’t 4-0 or anything. We knew we were right there. It was only going to take one shot to tie the game. We came out the right way early in the third, so we got some momentum there.”
Carolina came into the third period with that energy and momentum, despite the big, fat zero under their name on the scoreboard. With plenty of chances to capitalize and tie the game, it wasn’t until there was just 2:23 remaining that Aho got it done. Off of a great feed from Teuvo Teravainen and Seth Jarvis, Aho knocked in his own rebound and got the Canes on the board and into overtime.
‘We raised the level of our game and the intensity,” Brind’Amour said. “We raised the desperation of our game, which we needed. We were lacking for two periods. Obviously it doesn’t always work out, but we had a real good third period. That got us back in the game and it carried into overtime.”
Jarvis continued to show off his talents last night, with an assist, three SOG, eight shot attempts and seven hits. The rookie keeps earning his spot and showing his immediate strengths as a playmaker.
Ian Cole was the hero of the night as he scored the OT goal that won the Canes the first game of this series. It’s crucial to get ahead, and Cole was the one who propelled them to that result. It was his second career playoff goal and first career playoff OT goal. The defenseman was everyone’s favorite name to yell at the top of their lungs post-game.
“That’s what’s great about this game,” Brind’Amour said. “You just don’t know who is going to be the guy. Now he’s got that moment forever. I think that’s what makes it special. You count on everyone, but it’s nice that other guys that you don’t talk about all the time can be a part of that and feel these special moments.”
The Canes enter game two on Friday at 7pm. They remain at PNC Arena and hope for a similar result.
“Obviously the third period and overtime gives us a lot of confidence going forward to the next game,” Raanta said. “We know what we have to do to be successful.”