By Rockin’ Reese
This week, the Carolina Hurricanes hosted the Pennsylvania teams at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Much like their road trips to California & Florida, the Hurricanes experienced mixed results at home.
Wednesday, they hosted the Philadelphia Flyers. Going into this game, the Hurricanes were undefeated at home, this season. In fact, they were the only team who had not lost at home, this season. However, the Flyers changed that with a 3-1 victory. One reason that the Flyers won was due to the performance of (goalie) Carter Hart, who had missed 2 weeks of action, due to a back injury.
He saved 31 out of 32 shots on goal. Another reason they won was the ability to block shots. The Flyers blocked 30 of them, thanks to (defensemen) Travis Sanheim, Sean Walker, Cam York, Louie Belpedio, & Nick Seeler, (right wingers) Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, Owen Tippett, & Garnet Hathaway, (centers) Tyson Foerster & Sean Couturier, (left wingers) Nicolas Deslauriers & Joel Farabee, and (center/left winger) Ryan Poehling.
The penalty kill was perfect for the Flyers, as they shut down all 3 power plays for the Hurricanes. Of course, the scoring is the part that mattered most. Tippett scored 1:50 into the game. Konecny scored with less than 1 minute to go in the first period. Poehling scored 29 seconds into the second period. The lone bright spot for the Hurricanes was their goal scored by (right winger) Stefan Noesen.
Saturday was a different story, when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town. Both teams came out hot, early. Not only were teams getting shots on goal, but they were responding with timely blocked shots. Just past the halfway point of the first period, the Penguins scored the first goal of the game. After a hard-fought battle among the boards, (defenseman) Erik Karlsson fed (left winger) Jake Guentzel on a backhand pass.
Guentzel passed to (center/captain) Sidney Crosby, who easily put the puck past (Hurricanes goalie) Antti Raanta. The Penguins doggedly kept the Hurricanes off of the board. Late in the period, (Penguins defenseman) Chad Ruhwedel was called for high-sticking. However, the Hurricanes could only get a shot on goal from (center) Jesperi Kotkaniemi before the period ended.
As the second period began, Ruhwedel’s penalty time elapsed, but the Hurricanes would soon have a penalty of their own, as (center) Jack Drury was called for tripping. The Hurricanes nearly tied the game with a short-handed goal, thanks to (defenseman) Brady Skjei. The Penguins only managed a shot on goal from (left winger) Reilly Smith on their power play.
With just over 7 minutes remaining in the period, the Hurricanes were finally able to tie the game. The Penguins tried to clear the puck, but Crosby’s pass to (defenseman/alternate captain) Kris Letang was taken by (Hurricanes center/alternate captain) Sebastian Aho. As the Hurricanes re-entered the offensive zone, Aho dropped the puck to (center) Seth Jarvis. He passed to (left winger) Teuvo Teravainen, who fed Aho for a easy shot past (Penguins goalie) Tristan Jarry.
A few minutes after the Hurricanes tied the game, they would go on another penalty kill, as (right winger) Andrei Svechnikov was called for goalie interference. This time, the Penguins got no shots on the power play. The Hurricanes nearly ended the period with a last-minute goal from (left winger/alternate captain) Jordan Martinook, but the game remained tied 1-1.
As the third period began, the Hurricanes nearly took the lead in 38 seconds, thanks to Jarvis. Just 6 seconds later, Guentzel was called for slashing. It almost wound up being a quick power play for the Hurricanes, thanks to (right winger) Stefan Noesen nearly scoring. However, just a split second after the power play ended, the Hurricanes got the lead.
In the closing seconds of the power play, (defenseman) Brent Burns tried a wrap-around pass to Svechnikov, but the puck hit the base at the back of the net, first. Svechnikov passed to (defenseman/alternate captain) Jaccob Slavin, but who set Burns up for a laser shot past Jarry. Now, the Penguins were being aggressive with shots on goal, hits, & takeaways. The aggression worked, as they tied the game, 6 1/2 minutes later. Karlsson was hooked by Aho, which was about to give the Penguins their 3rd power play. However, the puck went to Rust, who tried to shoot the puck. Crosby got it & passed to Letang.
After a settling himself, Letang fired the puck, but it deflected off of Crosby’s chest. Crosby scored his 2nd goal of the night against Raanta. The tie would only last for 2:36, as the Hurricanes regained the lead. Teravainen intercepted a Karlsson pass, but Jarvis just missed the net. Jarvis delivered a big hit to Karlsson, which allowed Aho to pass to Burns & set up a play. Burns passed to Slavin, who fed Jarvis for a tip-in shot past Jarry. The Hurricanes tried to extend the lead, as quickly as possible, but the Penguins were doing everything that they could to tie the game, just as quickly.
With less than a minute & a half left in regulation, Karlsson was called for tripping. After the Penguins cleared their zone, they pulled Jarry for an extra attacker. As Crosby tried to get the puck, Skjei was able to hold him off, allowing Raanta to set up a series of quick passes for the Hurricanes. Raanta passed to (defenseman) Brett Pesce, who passed to Teravainen, who passed to Aho. After entering the offensive zone, Aho set up Jarvis for the empty-net, power play goal. When all was said and done, the Hurricanes won 4-2 & treated their “Caniacs” to another storm surge.