The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 as they rode on the back of Andrei Svechnikov’s two-goal third-period performance.
It was almost like magic. Nearly on the eve of Halloween, Svechnikov pulled off quite the trick on Flames goaltender David Rittich when he scored what is dubbed a “lacrosse goal”, which also may be the only one ever scored in the NHL.
Alone behind the net, Svechnikov pulled the puck onto the blade of his stick, lifted it and tucked it in into about a few-inches of a gap between Rittich’s mask and the corner of the net.
“I went behind the net and I felt like, ‘I have room, I should try this,” Svechnikov said. “I actually practiced that move this morning so it’s a great try by me… Everyone was just excited and so happy and it was just emotional. It was great.”
Svechnikov scored the eventual game-winner 3:22 later and the Canes rode that to victory.
The Calgary Flames had actually struck first midway through the first period as a familiar face in Elias Lindholm, the Canes’ former 2015 first-round pick, scored on a one-timer from between the circles.
The goal was met with a chorus of boos which is strange for Hurricanes fans but maybe not as much if you think back to last year where after the Flames won at PNC Arena, Lindholm imitated the Canes’ victory celebration, the Storm Surge, taunting the fans as he left the ice.
A few minutes later, it seemed as though the Flames had scored another goal, this time from Mikael Backlund, but after Carolina challenged for offsides, it became evident that the play had been considerably offsides and so the goal was waived off and the score remained 1-0.
The Canes’ penalty kill was put to work a few times, but each came through as the PK went perfect through the first two periods of play.
The Hurricanes had a slow start to the first period, but the second saw an increase in pressure by Carolina. Despite the attempts and possession time, the Hurricanes could not generate many quality chances and the ones they did they either shot wide or got deflected.
The third period saw the Canes still applying pressure and the ice was finally broken by Svechnikov’s goal with 9:13 left in the third period.
“He’s practiced it everyday for the last two years,” Canes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He did it I’m sure as a kid. He never misses it in practice, so it was only a matter of time before it was going to happen. Obviously, it was a huge moment when we needed it.”
The Flames then took a completely unnecessary penalty as Matthew Tkachuk, who usually is the one who goads opponents into taking bad penalties, was called for roughing.
Nino Niederreiter and Tkachuk had been jawing at each other the entire game. The bad blood may stem all the way back to when Niederreiter was playing for the Minnesota Wild. Tkachuk had injured Niederreiter’s teammate and close friend Matt Dumba in a retaliatory fight that Dumba did not want to be a part of.
Regardless, Tkachuk could not keep his emotions in check and gave the Hurricanes a chance on the power play with less than eight minutes remaining in a tied game. The Canes proceeded to bury it.
“You don’t want to retaliate, you know that, especially with the game being so tight,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Nino is a fiery guy. He’s taken a few of those over the years, but he held it together tonight and had a good game for us.
Before they scored, Rittich absorbed a heavy shot to the groin area and he proceeded to go down. The whistle was blown just before the Canes poked the puck into the net, but Rittich ended up being ok and staying in the game after being attended to.
On the very next shot, Svechnikov, the man on a mission, scored again from the same place he scored his first and last power play goal Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sniping this one far-side however, Svechnikov gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the night.
“Obviously when you score you get more confidence,” Svechnikov said. “I scored last game and I’m like ‘I have to shoot again’ and it was a good try by me.”
They were not out of the pan yet, the Canes still had to kill off a tripping penalty to Dougie Hamilton with 2:32 remaining in the game, however, the penalty killers and Carolina netminder Petr Mrazek came up big to secure the win.
The fans let Lindholm and the Flames hear it, as they Skol clapped Calgary all the way to their tunnel and with each member exiting the ice before the fans eventually let up to see what the Storm Surge had in store.
The Canes victory celebration involved the players trick-or-treating with Joel Edmundson, Jake Gardiner and James Reimer giving out candy that was then tossed into the crowd.
The Canes, who are a perfect two for two so far on their homestand will play again Friday, November 1, as they take on the visiting Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m.