Am ugly start for the Carolina Hurricanes was capped off by perhaps the perfect ending as the Canes pulled off a comeback victory over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
The Canes looked slow and sloppy to start the game and it didn’t take long for them to wind up in a 2-0 hole.
Turnovers, inability to clear pucks, losing foot races, you name a problem and the Hurricanes were doing it.
Despite an incredibly inferior roster, Montreal had heart and grit and were just outworking Carolina.
On their first goal, the Habs forced Carolina into a turnover and as they cycled the puck, Jalen Chatfield lost his man and Alex Belzile was in alone to pick up a rebound off of Raanta and put it back in off the backhand.
On the second one, Martin Necas turns it over along the boards with a poor pass and Chatfield proceeds to trip over the blueline, leaving Montreal with a 2-on-1. Shayne Gostisbehere actually managed to knock the puck off of Jonathan Drouin’s stick as he drove in, but it went directly to Mike Hoffman for an easy score.
However, it seems that all Carolina needed was a 2-0 hole as just 15 seconds later, the Canes struck back. The fourth line led the way, generating a rush up ice which Jaccob Slavin joined in on and the defenseman ripped it home.
And at the start of the second period, Carolina struck again. On a won offensive-zone faceoff, a deflected shot bounced out to Brett Pesce who took his time and found Brady Skjei slipping into a soft spot cross-ice. Pesce found his partner and Skjei put it home.
However, the poor habits from the start creeped back in not long after the equalizer and the Canes were once again simply outpaced for a goal against. Michael Pezzetta simply just outskated the Hurricanes defense to the front of the net and tapped home a centering feed.
It was a frustrating night for a team who just had the most dominant performance of the season on Sunday afternoon, the 6-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Canes had chances. A Paul Stastny equalizer in the third period was called back for goaltender interference on Derek Stepan, a play which if not a goal, then should have been a penalty against the Canadiens.
But Carolina kept pushing and late in the third period, the always dependable Jordan Staal line came through. On a signature cycling shift, the puck wound up on Pesce’s stick at the blueline and he sent it towards the net as Jesper Fast executed a drive-by screen. The rebound popped out and Fast was there to tie the game back up.
The Habs and Canes played a hectic back and forth overtime, but neither goalie conceded the winner, so to the shootout it went.
Montreal scored on their first two attempts, Rem Pitlick and Nick Suzuki both beating Frederik Andersen, but Brent Burns got the Canes on the board and Teuvo Teravainen extended the shootout, unfazed by the pressure in the three slot.
And in the sixth round, Rod Brind’Amour sent out Jesperi Kotkaniemi who was immediately met by a rain of boos. KK skated down the ice, gave a fake shot and then ripped it into the corner for the win.
Who else would score the shootout winner in Montreal? pic.twitter.com/mDC8X9m1SF— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 8, 2023
The Hurricanes showed their resiliency and proved, once again, that they’re never out of a game.
However, it wasn’t a perfect day in Quebec for the Canes.
Carolina lost both Antti Raanta and Jalen Chatfield to injury over the length of the game. Raanta went down awkwardly after attempting to lunge across for a save and would not return for the second period and Chatfield would not return for the third period, after it was announced he was out with an upper-body injury.
Carolina will now head home for a short stint as they first host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night at PNC Arena.