In a reversal of fate, the Hurricanes erased an early 2-0 deficit to topple the Florida Panthers 4-2 Saturday night at PNC Arena only one game after losing 5-3 in a game they themselves had led 2-0 early.
It was a night for remembrance and to honor those fighting and who have fought against cancer as the Hurricanes donned purple sweaters in their pregame warmups with the names of some of those who had battled hemmed directly into the numbers.
It was a night bigger than the game.
But in terms of the game, it was a night of cannons as three of the Hurricanes' four goals were the result of one-timer blasts, two of which were from the Canes lethal defensive core who now has a combined 20 goals for the team.
“I thought it was probably a good game from start to finish,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Even though we got down, we were playing fine. We got a couple that didn’t go our way, but I just love the fact that it didn’t change one bit what we were doing. It doesn’t always work out that way, but getting right back into it after we got down by two … Everyone contributed tonight, it was solid.
“I’m certainly not going to pick apart this game. You wanna do that? Go ahead, but that’s as good of a game as you're gonna get. That was one of the best teams in the league and we didn’t give them much.”
It started out much rougher than those sentiments project though as a very quick succession of plays led to a roller coaster of emotions starting off midway through the first period.
Here is a breakdown of a live viewing:
The Florida Panthers have now jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrazek found himself way out of position and Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad simply skated down towards the crease and shoveled a backhand into the open net.
The score is now 2-0 after Panthers’ Brian Boyle found himself in all alone off a turnover. He placed the shot right up over Mrazek’s shoulder where it ringed out bar down and in.
The Canes have now cut the deficit to one as Brett Pesce releases a cannon of a one-timer that beat Sergei Bobrovsky cleanly from the point.
All three of those goals came in less than a span of a minute and really shows just how open and loose the two teams had been playing.
Back to the Pesce goal, after the game, Pesce commented when asked if he had ever shot a puck that hard before.
“I’m probably going to frame that stick,” Pesce said. “To be honest, I’m not going to shoot that hard ever again.”
When further questioned on comments he made during the first intermission where he claimed he closed his eyes and shot it as hard as he could, Pesce responded.
“Yeah, that’s what I try to do every time. It’s pretty scary out there so I just try to shoot it as hard as I can.”
Safe to say the guys were feeling pretty good about themselves after a solid win.
After the first three combined goals, the game didn’t necessarily tighten up, just each team seemed to get less lucky. With rather poor ice conditions thanks in part to the afternoon college basketball game between the NC State Wolfpack and the Little Rock Trojans, the puck was bouncing off of most players’ sticks much to their chagrins with having wide-open cages in front of them a lot of the time.
However, when the Canes were passing around the perimeter and not trying to force it off the rush, it seemed to be going much more crisp and efficient. Even so much as resulting in the game-tying goal as Dougie Hamilton threaded it to Martin Necas at the left circle for a one-timer bomb.
Necas had scored from that exact same spot many times in his time last year in Charlotte with the Checkers, but this was his first time converting from that spot in the NHL.
“That was my first one here so I hope that’s going to keep going,” Necas said when asked about that being his spot. “I try to practice these shots a lot.
The Hurricanes, who had lost last Thursday after being up 2-0 to start the first period, had now seemed to be reenacting the very same misfortune they had been delivered previously instead this time with alternated roles.
The Hurricanes role reversal continued as late into the second period, Dougie Hamilton teed off a pass from Teuvo Teravainen that managed to squeeze through the arm of Bobrovsky and give Carolina its first lead of the night.
The Canes continued to suffocate Florida with their aggressive forechecking and bombardment of offensive opportunities, not allowing them the chance to get back into the game. The victory was capped off when Andrei Svechnikov nailed an empty-net dagger with a little over a minute remaining to give Carolina enough breath to close out the fight.
“It was a good effort from everyone all around,” Hamilton said. “They are a really good team, they’ve had comebacks in the third. We knew that and we made sure to hold it down.”
The Hurricanes have a quick turnaround as they fly out to Detroit to take on the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena Sunday, Nov. 24.