If the Carolina Hurricanes would have gone out Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues and laid an egg, it would have been...well, understandable.
The Canes had an unbelievable weekend, but one filled with a ton of excitement, distractions, and fun. If a Stadium Series domination of the Washington Capitals would have been followed up by a dud against the Blues, it wouldn’t have mattered that much.
But of course, that’s not how this Carolina Hurricanes team rolls. The Canes went out Tuesday night and took it to St. Louis, as two goals from Andrei Svechnikov and another stellar performance from Frederik Andersen led Carolina to a 4-1 win over the Blues in the team’s return to playing hockey indoors.
About last night:
Guess who’s back
Prior to Tuesday’s win over the Blues, Andrei Svechnikov hadn’t scored a goal since Dec. 20. A stretch of 19 games without a goal for one of Carolina’s most potent scorers, who despite the drought still sat third on the team in both goals and points.
For Svechnikov, the goal drought followed the best start to a season he’s had. In Carolina’s first 36 games, Svechnikov scored 19 goals. He was on an 82-game pace of 43 goals, which would have shattered his previous career best of 30.
But then the drought hit, and Svechnikov couldn’t buy a goal. He didn’t play bad during the stretch — he had 14 points in those 19 games, still — but he couldn’t find the back of the net himself.
But Svechnikov broke out of that drought Tuesday night, and in somewhat expected fashion, broke out of it in a big way. Svechnikov scored two goals in the win over the Blues and nearly had a spectacular third, as the Russian winger finally cashed in and then did it again.
Just 1:26 into the game, Svechnikov struck. And it was a vintage Svechnikov goal, as he powered the puck into the zone, made one great stick move to free up space and then sniped one past Jordan Binnington that the St. Louis netminder didn’t really have a shot at.
Then just six and a half minutes later, Svechnikov doubled his 2023 goal total. Svechnikov calmly gathered a heavy rebound of Binnington and slotted it home.
Svech_1PGoal_Version2.mp4 pic.twitter.com/YwdWA8vwDx— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 22, 2023
For Svechnikov, the Canes and Canes fans, Tuesday’s first period was an overwhelming relief. Svechnikov was obviously going to score goals again this season, but droughts like this feel like they’re never going to end. But it ended Tuesday, and now all parties will hope that it means the floodgates are opening back up for Svechnikov, who still has a really good shot of passing his career best of 30 goals.
To add to the fun for Svech, he almost scored a hat trick in the most Svech way possible. In the third period, he attempted the move he brought to the NHL, and it so nearly worked for him for a third time in his young career.
Imagine if this would have gone in! For the hat trick, no less... pic.twitter.com/lFIn4SvFD0— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) February 22, 2023
It appears Andrei Svechnikov might just be back.
Freddie, Freddie, Freddie
After missing a good chunk of the season with injury, Frederik Andersen returned to the ice for the Hurricanes on Jan. 12.
He won that night. And then again in his next game. And then again in the next. And then again in the next. And then again in the next. And then again in the next. And then again in the next.
And after a rough outing against the New York Rangers, Andersen has won his last three games while allowing just four goals in that span. The Canes just keep winning, and Freddie’s hot streak is a big reason. He’s 9-1-0 since returning to injury with a 2.09 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Tuesday night, he was exceptional in a 35-save effort against the Blues, making some huge stops to keep Carolina’s lead intact. Look at these stops (and also those sweet Stadium Series pads Andersen is still rocking):
Truth be told, a pair of high-danger stops by Frederik Andersen in the ~90 seconds before Jarvis' 12th goal of the season were the real X-Factor.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) February 22, 2023
If he doesn't make both stops, we could be looking at a one-goal game again. Instead, Carolina leads by a trio. pic.twitter.com/YDGrmv5KKy
Andersen was so good for Carolina in 2021-22, and it was only late injuries that really derailed his season. Now in 2022-23, he’s looking strong once again, as Carolina’s decision to commit to Freddie in free agency is looking smarter and smarter by the day.
- Seth Jarvis scored one and assisted two Tuesday night, his second three-point game in his last three games.
- The Canes’ penalty kill has now successfully killed off 10 of the last 11 penalties Carolina has committed.
- Goals on Bobblehead nights are dope. Shoutout Sebastian Aho for scoring on his.
- I guess hockey can be fun indoors, too.