At what point do we just assume that no deficit is too great for this iteration of the Carolina Hurricanes to overcome?
Four nights earlier, they rallied from a 4-2 deficit in under two minutes to defeat the San Jose Sharks in overtime and tonight they added yet another ridiculous comeback to the resume, erasing a three-goal, third period deficit to defeat the LA Kings 5-4 in overtime.
Heading into the locker room after 40 minutes, things weren’t looking great. The Hurricanes had given up four straight goals, putting themselves in a 4-1 hole and the team just looked out of sync.
“It was okay in the first, but I think the worst thing that happened was that we got up one and then kind of thought we’d be fine,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “It really wasn’t quite dialed in the way we needed to do it.”
“The second period was just tough. We just didn’t have it and basically gave them some goals. You can’t do that in this league.”
One would expect the locker room to be filled with gloomy guys and an irate coach, but that wasn’t as much of the case.
“We weren’t happy obviously, but it wasn’t panic mode or anything like that,” said Sebastian Aho. “We talked about if we just get one power play and score, we’re right back in it.”
“It was more trying to get something positive out of it,” said Paul Stastny. “I don’t think we were thinking we were going to win the game, I think we were just thinking let’s try to build something. Not much needed to be said. Everyone knew we had more and just had to give a little more compete level out there and from the first shift on, that’s what we did.”
“It was nothing too crazy,” said Teuvo Teravainen. “[Brind’Amour] just said that whenever we start playing our game we should be right back in the game. That’s what happened. He was pretty calm.”
A composed demeanor doesn’t come easy, but when you are one of the top teams in the league that has proven it has what it takes to come back from any deficit, it certainly helps.
And that confidence and composure seemingly paid off as the Hurricanes sparked the rally starting with Stastny’s score 3:27 into the third period and it was Aho who ended it 4:06 into overtime.
And between those markers was a stretch of dominance, with the Canes outchancing the Kings 22-9 in that span.
“We went to work,” Aho said. “I felt like every shift was in their end. We got our game going and obviously a huge goal by Stastny first and then I felt like Jordo’s line got us going a little bit and the rest of us just followed.”
Stastny got the party started, slamming home a juicy rebound off of LA netminder Pheonix Copley’s pads.
And not long after that, it was the captain, Jordan Staal with the redirection in front on a shot that was going well wide.
Now down by just one, the Hurricanes were all over the Kings and eventually they forced a penalty.
“When we play that way, it might not happen early in the game, but it’s hard to play against,” Stastny said. “I’ve been on the opposing side a couple of times where you have the lead and you just feel like it’s never safe, just because Carolina can keep coming at you. Eventually, you’re going to get out of breath and out of gas and you’re just defending all the time.”
The Hurricanes hadn’t yet had a chance on the power play until that moment and the team — who had scored power play goals in back to back games — came out with a bit of swagger.
“It’s all about confidence,” Teravainen said. “Just working hard out there. We didn’t have many power plays today, but then we got the one chance so we had to be ready for that and we got a couple of good looks and got some big goals. Always got to be ready.”
And Teravainen was ready as he got that crucial tying goal. The Finnish forward unloaded a one-timer from the right circle, rifling the puck home.
They had done it again. The game was tied and not long after, it was headed to overtime.
And that’s when it became the Sebastian Aho Show.
“It was fun to watch him,” Brind’Amour said. “You just sit back and see. It looked like he wanted to take over the game.”
Aho nearly ended the game three separate times, each time getting closer than the last and eventually he made his mark.
Andrei Svechnikov drew a penalty against Drew Doughty and on the 4-on-3 advantage, Aho got set up for the one-timer and he blasted it past Copley for the win.
“It’s huge. Without a power play, we’d lose this game,” Aho said. “Every night, special teams is huge and tonight it got us a win. Winning this hockey game is pretty special, coming back from three goals behind. It gives a lot of belief in this group.”
Confidence is practically oozing out of the Metropolitan Division’s top team, as they extended their winning streak to six and point streak to nine. The NHL’s second place team also now sits just seven points behind the top-seeded Boston Bruins.
The Hurricanes have just one game left before the All-Star break. A next day game against the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. at the KeyBank Center.