Cary, NC – For the second game in a row, Andrei Svechnikov score two goals, the first will easily be the NHL top goal of the month, to beat the Calgary Flames with a come from behind 2-1 victory. The Flames have three former Canes players as well as two coaches so the desire from each team wanting a win is just that much more.
Former Cane Elias Lindholm heard the boo birds nearly every time he hit the ice as last year after a Flames win at the RBC Arena, Lindy mocked the Storm Surge which offended the Caniacs who forget nothing.
Canes Start Strong
Whether it was playing against former coach Bill Peters, or against the former Canes players, or wanting a win to put an exclamation point on the Storm Surge, the Canes had a great start. At just the 10 second mark, Nino Nieddereiter made a slick pass from behind the net to Dougie Hamilton charging down Broadway forcing David Rittich to make a key save. Interesting point: Rittich and Canes goalie Petr Mrazek are both 27 and from the Czech Republic, so for those two, this game had an additional desire for the win.
The Flames won the ensuing faceoff then methodically carried the puck to the Canes’ end, getting off two high quality shots with Mrazek making stops on both. The first eight minutes of the game were as entertaining as anyone could expect with action up and down the ice, hard hitting and great saves. The Canes then seemed to have a lull in their play, losing nearly everything in center ice allowing penetration by the Flames in the Canes’ end.
Just over the 13 minute mark, “Johnny Hockey” Gaudreau, who is one of the smaller players in the NHL but is a great player, made a crisp pass to Lindholm in the mid slot area sending in a one timer past Mrazek after a botched coverage by the Canes. Normally, the Caniacs are respectful of an opposing goal but not this time. Less than two minutes later on another coverage lapse, the Flames struck again.
In what turned out to be a critical call, Coach Rod Brind’Amour challenged the call for offsides and after review, the goal was overturned on what was a very clear offside missed by the officials. Kudos to Chris Huffine, the Canes’ video coach, who is about the best in the NHL.
Canes Flat in Second
The second period was punch and counterpunch with each team constantly going up and down the ice with a fair amount of play in the center zone. Quality shots were limited, with both goalies making saves on everything tossed their way. Mrazek displayed some of his flexibility with a few unbelievable saves. Rittich is a big guy and used his girth to his advantage, blocking many shots up high. At one point, the Flames were pressing hard with a couple of players, clogging up the dirty area in front of the Canes’ goal.
Brock McGinn, who had another great game despite not getting on the scoreboard, slashed Andrew Managiapane just as he was cutting through the crease upon getting a pass for what could have been sure goal. Roddy lost a key penalty kill defender but will gladly have that penalty taken as the Canes PK unit has been perfect the past few games. Fortunately, that perfection continued through this penalty as the Canes’ forward were very aggressive on their forechecking deep in the Flames end making it difficult for the visitors to set up a planned attack.
The Canes thought they had tied the game at one point when Rittich dropped a save off his chest protector with Ryan Dzingel picking up the loose change to pass to Martin Necas for a goal but the early whistle had blown when the ref thought the puck was covered.
Svechnikov Sparkles With Magic
The Canes came out in the third with an obvious game plan: tenacity and aggression. After yielding 13 shots in the second while getting just seven, Roddy would want better as the Canes’ play in the second just wasn’t up to Roddy’s standard. From the drop of the puck, you could see the sense of urgency and a difference in the Canes’ game. Shots started, not only any shot but good solid shots.
TJ Brodie blocked an unbelievable eight shots for the game and no less than six in the third alone. The Canes kept the pressure on then the Andrei Svechnikov show took center stage. After getting a pass from Lucas Wallmark, Svech danced with the puck below the goal line going behind the net. As he faked going left, his defender went to his right was slow to reverse his direction.
Svech then pulled a magical trick that will surely be the NHL goal of the month. He slid the puck back and forth getting the puck to flip on his blade then cradled it like a lacrosse ball, lifting the puck on the blade turning it over to shovel it in above Rittich’s left shoulder. Brian Gibbons, on a call up from Charlotte, was first to congratulate Svech and was in awe of the talent this young gun just displayed.
The Caniacs didn’t let up on their applause for a full three minutes with Svech still having a broad smile and chuckle during the faceoff. And the Svechnikov Show wasn’t over. With the Canes on a powerplay, Erik Haula won the faceoff drawing the puck back to Teuvo Teravainen. Turbo quickly pass over to Hamilton who then played catch with Svech along the near boards. On the second volley, Svech took a couple of strides towards the net and with Haula providing the net front presence, let loose a hard wrister that hit the goalies left arm then went right into the net for his second goal of the game, second game in a row and second powerplay goal of his career.
Late in the game, Hamilton got his stick between the legs of Matthew Tkachuk giving the Flames a great chance to send the game into overtime. Peters pulled Rittich with about 1:15 left in the penalty for two extra skaters on the powerplay but the Canes’ defense, especially Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce play great. Big win allowing Mrazek to collect his 14th consecutive win on home ice.