Cary, NC – You couldn’t ask for a worse weekend, playing two of the top teams in the NHL in back-to-back games with the strongest team on paper, the opponent less than 24 hours after the previous game. But these are the Carolina Hurricanes, who continue to impress hockey-smart people every game with their Rod Brind’Amour style of hockey: fast, continuous forechecking, continuous coverage and playing a full 200-foot game by every skater, every shift.
After once again starting out with the lead, they once again found themselves down by two goals but ended up with a 4-3 overtime win on a Jaccob Slavin goal.
Pesce Pinballs His First
Every publication, every hockey analyst, every respected NHL writer all point out how strong Tampa Bay is on paper. And no question: they are. Their top three lines are as solid as they come. Their top two defensive pairings are also solid with Victor Herman an annual candidate for the Norris Trophy.
Like many top teams, they are fast. Very fast. The Canes are also fast, and may actually be faster, especially with newcomers Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula. It was a nice matchup in goal with Peter Mrazek going against former goalie mate, Curtis McElhinney. The Canes won the opening faceoff and immediately had the cycle going in the Bolts’ end with the first two shifts especially strong for the Canes. Andrei Svechnikov passed to Brock McGinn along the far boards who stick handled the puck up to Brett Pesce on the right point. With Svech in the dirty area in front of CMac, Pesce send a wrister into the traffic for a redirection. The puck went in and nearly everyone thought it was a redirect by Svech but replays showed it went in off the defender’s skate so Goal for Pesce.
Just over a minute later, Tampa Bay started their onslaught. Rookie Martin Necas failed to clear the puck out of the defensive zone and was picked up by Tyler Johnson who sent a slap shot in from 30 feet with plenty of traffic in front of Mrazek. The Bolts always seem to have a Canes Killer, someone that always seem to score against the Canes. In the past it was Martin St. Louis, and for the past few seasons, it’s been Tyler Johnson. The Bolts constantly had at least one player camped out in front of Mrazek at all times. They’re not the biggest team in the league by a long shot but they are tenacious about doing whatever it takes to stay in the dirty area.
Joel Edmundson got called for interference and it took all of four seconds for the Bolts convert another shot from the top through traffic. Late in the period, All Star Steve Stamkos jumped over the boards on a change snaring another weak clear just inside the blue line, skated to the middle then let go a hard wrister, again into heavy traffic, that Mrazek never saw.
Haula Scores Third Goal in Three Games
Roddy, the coaching staff, and knowing Mrazek, all probably addressed the traffic in front of the net during the intermission. The Canes’ defense was notably more forceful in the second. Fact is the entire team was more forceful in all three zones and quicker on the puck. It was almost as if the ice was tilted as it was all Canes during the period. Passes were crisp and on the tape, checks were finished, Bolts’ shots were blocked with very few even taken. The Bolts only took two shots in the period with one blocked and one missing the goal, meaning no shots on goal for the period.
That alone will send a message to the expert analysts about this Canes team. Hooking is a typical penalty when someone has been beaten. All Bolt penalties in the first and second were hooking calls. On their second, the Canes had great puck movement with Teuvo Teravainen passing up to Dougie Hamilton on the right point. Hamilton let go a bomb that was tipped in by Erik Haula for his third goal in three games this season. The play of Svech so far in this early season has been very impressive. His stick control, the cause for a majority of his team leading penalties last season, is greatly improved. He is using his strength, speed and stick control much better and in the right situations. He is really a star in the making and, from what he says, loves the Raleigh area.
Hamilton Ties It, Slavin Wins It In OT
The third period was as entertaining as it gets for a home town hockey purest. With both teams playing and traveling the night before, it could have been whoever was in better shape would prevail but there was no taking the foot off the gas by either team. Shots again were hard to come by with the Canes only getting off eight in the period while the Bolts increased all the way to two shots. A little over mid way in the period the Bolts got their fourth hooking call due to the tenancy of Warren Foegle, who probably had his best game of this young season.
After a faceoff win by Turbo, Svech had the puck along the near board then threaded the needle with a cross ice pass to Turbo along the far mid boards. Turbo quickly passed up to Hamilton who took a stride to the middle high slot then let go a high bomb that found its way to the upper left corner to tie the game. The Canes started the overtime with a man advantage but just couldn’t find the right opportunity. Shortly after the powerplay ended, Jordan Staal muscled the puck in the neutral zone and found a gear he’s not been known for, powering into the Bolts zone.
Slavin joined on the right side with just one defender back. Staal looked towards the goal but fed Slavin who sent a one timer slap shot into the upper right corner to seal the win. The Canes help Tampa Bay to just 13 shots which will be the eye opener for many teams and fans reading the game stats. The Canes are now 3-0-0 for the first time in their history.
Next home game is Friday, October 11, 2019 against the Islanders. Be there!