The Carolina Hurricanes nearly did it again Sunday evening in PNC Arena, storming back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to force overtime before ultimately falling 4-3 to the Boston Bruins in a shootout.
After an opening two periods that were maybe a little too fitting of a tribute to the old team in Hartford on Whalers night, the Canes scored two goals in the opening four minutes of the third period to tie the game up.
Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho did the scoring for Carolina in the third, to go along with the second goal of the season for Jack Drury in the second period. David Pastrnak had two for the Bruins, his 50th and 51st of the season, with Jakub Lauko adding the third.
The Bruins took the shootout in just two rounds, as both Brent Burns and Teuvo Teravainen had shots saved by Jeremey Swayman, who stopped 34 of 37 shots faced on the night to go along with the shootout saves. Frederik Andersen played a really strong game in net for the Hurricanes, making 35 saves on 38 shots, but he didn’t have an answer for Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk in the shootout.
The Bruins came into the game shorthanded, missing both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, but it didn’t show early, as Pastrnak opened the scoring a few minutes into the game with his 50th goal of the season.
The Canes started pretty well with the puck, but a mistake in the offensive zone led to a breakaway effort for Pastrnak, who guided one through Andersen’s five-hole to make it a 1-0 game less than five minutes into the contest.
After Andersen made an exceptional glove save to deny a point-blank effort from DeBrusk, the Canes went to the power play after a weird sequence where Charlie McAvoy jumped Jordan Martinook for getting too close to Swayman while trying to recover his stick.
The Canes did absolutely nothing with the power play, with a shorthanded breakaway effort from DeBrusk that Andersen turned away the best look for either side. Special teams came back on the ice late in the period with a lengthy 4-on-4 segment sandwiched by abbreviated power plays by both teams, but neither side found the net.
Carolina’s depth came through with a great shift to tie the game up at 1-1 in the second period, as Drury netted his second goal of the season on a beautiful connection with Jalen Chatfield. Chatfield fired a slap-pass from the boards to Drury in the slot, and the young forward perfectly scooped the puck and redirected it past Swayman to even things up.
However, the tied game was short lived, as a phantom slashing call on Teuvo Teravainen gave the Bruins a power play just a couple of minutes later. The Bruins converted quickly on the chance, as Pastrnak beat Andersen on the near post for his second of the game on a goal that the Canes’ netminder will certainly want back.
A couple of minutes later Lauko made it 3-1, as he stopped quickly and fired a hard wrister from the right circle. Andersen was a second behind in reacting to the shot, as the puck got by him and into the side netting to double Boston’s lead.
Carolina had a couple of chances late in the second period to get one back, but couldn’t convert on either. Aho and Martin Necas linked up for a nice 2-on-1 chance, but Necas sailed a shot. Aho got a chance later in the possession from the slot, but his shot was right at Swayman.
The Hurricanes came out for the third period looking like a completely different team, immediately taking the puck right at Swayman with an extended trip to the offensive zone out of the gate.
That energy paid off almost immediately as Skjei, on his birthday, pulled the Hurricanes within one just 1:37 into the final period. Necas created a heavy rebound in traffic that glided out to the circle, where Skjei jumped on it and smashed a shot into the roof of the net to make it 3-2.
With the goal — and the Brass Bonanza that followed — PNC Arena came back to life, and that excitement doubled just over two minutes later as Aho tied the game up. Martinook made a great pass from the corner to center a puck to Aho, who slotted it past Swayman from inside the crease to make it 3-3.
Back-to-back Brass Bonanzas!! pic.twitter.com/ZuLBzuiqjr— x - Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 26, 2023
Regulation came to an end with the game still tied up at 3-3, though not for a lack of chances by either team. Andersen made a pair of fantastic saves, which were followed by a flurry of chances that the Canes just couldn’t quite convert on in the final minutes of play.
Andersen was the star of the overtime period, as Boston controlled the puck for most of the five minutes as Andersen had to make five saves in overtime alone to keep things tied. The Canes finally got a good look in the final seconds of OT, but Swayman made back-to-back great saves to force the shootout.
The Hurricanes’ gauntlet of games against playoff teams will continue Tuesday night at home against the Lightning.
They Said It
On another comeback: The guys dig in all the time. That’s just how they are. I’m most proud of the group because whichever way it’s going — if it’s not going right or we get a bad call — they just keep going. They keep playing. It wasn’t our best game, but I thought in the third period we certainly came on. It’s one of those games where we say it’s probably a good point to get considering how it was looking.
On the penalty called against Teuvo Teravainen: Was it a penalty? Let’s just be honest about it. That’s not a penalty. Yeah, you’ve got to kill it. I get it. But, they have a pretty good player, he’s going to get his opportunity. It’s hard when I feel like you’re just tossing them a goal. But you do have to kill it.
On this tough week against so many playoff teams: It gives you an idea of what the top teams are like. You know how hard it’s going to be. Not that you didn’t know. But certainly these teams are ramping it up. They’ve got some elite, high-end players. They’re difference makers, as you can see.
On the resilience of the team overall: It was a good third period. You can take the positives from that and work on what we need to moving forward.
On scoring on Whalers Night: It’s definitely cool. I had a lot of pictures of my dad playing there as a kid, so it’s definitely special.
On his goal: It was a good offensive shift. [Paul Stastny] and [Derek Stepan] were just grinding it down low, and [Jalen Chatfield] made a great play coming down the wall.
On this tough week against so many playoff teams: It’s a good challenge. You want to be playing the toughest teams. It’s great preparation for the playoffs. So, I think we’re embracing it, and it will be another great test on Tuesday.
On the resilience: Obviously it’s a great push back by us. They’re the best team in the league right now, and obviously you want to get two points. But I’m proud of the way we came back in the third period there. That’s the way we need to play it all 60 minutes.
On his success scoring from the circle: I’ve scored a few goals from that spot. I’m just trying to get my shot on net. This year they’ve been going in. It’s been a good year so far.
On this tough week against so many playoff teams: It’s been tough. It’s not going to get any easier. We’ve got Tampa next. It’s been a good stretch of hockey getting us ready for that playoff atmosphere and hockey. It’s been a grind. We’ve played pretty well. We’ve obviously had some moments we can learn from, but for the most part it’s been a pretty good stretch.