The Carolina Hurricanes returned to the ice after a few days off with a win Thursday night, as the Canes beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 in a strong teamwide effort.
Five different players scored for the Hurricanes in the game, while Frederik Andersen played another fantastic game between the pipes since returning from injury.
There was a lot of good — and some misfortune — for the Canes, but it was a good strong team win by a good strong team.
About last night:
Since making his return to the ice last week, Canes’ top netminder Frederik Andersen has been absolutely dynamite.
Against the Wild Thursday, he made 29 saves on 31 shots faced. In his three games back, Andersen has 21, 34 and 29 saves, with a .944 save percentage and no more than two goals allowed in any game.
Thursday, Andersen was on his absolute A-game. He stopped six of seven high-danger chances faced, and he made some really excellent saves in a pretty commanding win over the Wild.
Seconds after the #Canes move to 0-for-3 on the power play in the first period, Frederik Andersen comes up with a massive stop.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) January 20, 2023
Matt Boldy had all the time in the world after coming out of the box, but Carolina's netminder shuts down the bid. pic.twitter.com/6c42xg1GLi
The Hurricanes more than survived Andersen’s absence — thanks to the play of Pyotr Kochetkov — but Andersen also is an experienced, veteran goaltender who has been nothing but great so far with the Hurricanes.
To get a top goalie back at this point in the season, with the team already playing as well as it is, has been another big boost for the Canes. It’s great to see that Andersen hasn’t missed a beat.
Jalen Chatfield, goal scorer
A month ago, Jalen Chatfield had zero career goals.
Just 16 days ago, Chatfield had one career goal.
Just over a week ago, he had two career goals.
But suddenly, Jalen Chatfield has five career goals after scoring three times in the Hurricanes’ last four games and four times in the last eight.
On Thursday, Chatfield was one of five goal scorers for the Hurricanes, bumping a 3-1 Carolina lead to 4-1 with a snipe early on in the third period.
Did y'all know he's from Michigan?— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) January 20, 2023
The fourth goal in eight games for #5. pic.twitter.com/Dh9HdqtYRJ
Chatfield has been well regarded and talked about by the team and fans alike for his abilities as a defensemen over the past two years, but suddenly he’s adding another dynamic to the team and his game.
Obviously Chatfield isn’t going to be a huge goal scorer, and his recent streak of finding the back of the net doesn’t mean he’s suddenly going to turn into Ray Bourque. But it’s still fun to see for a guy who has done a ton of work to get to this stage and is making the most of it.
A sour end
As much fun as Thursday night’s game was for the Hurricanes, it ended in one of the worst ways imaginable.
In the final moments of the game, forward Max Pacioretty made a cut and immediately couldn’t put weight on his right leg.
Oh no.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) January 20, 2023
Inside the final minute, Max Pacioretty goes down and has to be helped off the ice. Awful, awful scene. pic.twitter.com/B6leVJRGqX
For Pacioretty, who has only played in five games this season after tearing his Achilles, the injury didn’t look good. Speculation is dangerous — and here’s hoping for the best — but the tone of the team after the game also wasn’t promising.
If Pacioretty is done, which feels like a strong possibility, it’s a massive sting to both the player and the Hurricanes.