Hurricanes in California: NHL’s Storm Surgers Go West

By Rockin’ Reese

Hurricanes Go West

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After a successful home opener, the Carolina Hurricanes went on the road. Their first stop…California. Within a span of 4 days, they would play all 3 teams from the Golden State. They were hoping for a strong start, since this would be part of a 6-game road trip.

Their California triple-header started Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena, against the Los Angeles Kings. The Hurricanes started strong as (defenseman) Brent Burns, (center/alternate captain) Sebastian Aho, & (center) Jesperi Kotkaniemi all scored goals on (Kings goalie) Pheonix Copley within the first 13 1/2 minutes of the game. With less than 90 seconds to go in the first period, the Kings finally got on the board, as (defenseman/alternate captain) Drew Doughty got a puck past (Hurricanes goalie) Frederik Andersen.

The Kings were hoping to build on that momentum, even though the Hurricanes ended the first period with a 3-1 lead. The Hurricanes came out with a quick strike, as (left winger) Brendan Lemieux scored just over 3 minutes into the second period. After (defenseman) Dmitry Orlov was called for a holding penalty, the Kings made them pay for it, as (center/captain) Anze Kopitar scored on the power play. Later in the period, Kotkaniemi was called for high-sticking, but for the 2nd time in the game, the Hurricanes would score a short-handed goal (Aho had the first one).

This time, it was (left winger) Teuvo Teravainen who did the honors. A few minutes later, (right winger) Jesper Fast was called for tripping. The Kings scored quickly on the power play, thanks to (left winger) Trevor Moore. The Hurricanes ended the period with a 5-3 lead. In the third period, penalties affected the Hurricanes again. Near the midway point of the period, (center) Seth Jarvis was called for hooking. Though the Kings didn’t score on the power play, (Kings defenseman) Vladislav Gavrikov scored 42 seconds after Jarvis was released from the peanlty box.

With less than 4 minutes remaining, Kotkaniemi was called for tripping. Just 12 seconds after Kotkaniemi’s penalty expired, Kopitar tied the game with less than 90 seconds remaining. The period ended with a 5-5 tie, which meant this game went to overtime. The Kings had a few great chances to win the game, as Moore & (right winger) Kevin Fiala had shots on goal. The Hurricanes also had a chance to win, thanks to (defenseman/alternate captain) Jaccob Slavin. Late in overtime, blocks from Kopitar & (Hurricanes defenseman) Brett Pesce sent the game into a shootout.

In the shootout, (Kings left winger) Adrian Kempe shot wide of Andersen. Burns was stopped by Copley. The Kings scored first, as (center) PL Dubois got a puck past Andersen. Teravainen failed to tie the shootout, as Copley stopped him, as well. Kopitar had a chance to win the game, but the captain of the Kings shot wide, like Kempe did. Now, the game came down to Aho. If he didn’t get a puck past Copley, the Kings would complete a comeback victory.

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Oct 17, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas (88) scores a wraparound goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately for the L.A. crowd, Aho scored, which meant the shootout went into extra rounds. Fiala had his shot deflect off of Andersen, which now gave the Hurricanes a chance to win. However, Jarvis lost control of the puck, allowing an easy save for Copley. Moore scored, which meant it was up to (Hurricanes center) Martin Nečas to keep the game alive for the visiting team. He scored, continuing the shootout. (Kings center) Quinton Byfield had his shot gloved by Andersen.

(Hurricanes defenseman) Tony DeAngelo was stopped by Copley. (Kings left winger) Carl Grundström had his shot  ricochet off of Andersen. (Hurricanes left winger) Michael Bunting had his shot gloved by Copley. (Kings center/alternate captain) Phillip Danault was gloved by Andersen. (Hurricanes defenseman) Brady Skjei shot wide. (Kings right winger) Alex Laferriere had his shot deflected by Andersen. Martinook prevented a 10th round by finally scoring the winning goal, giving the Hurricanes a 6-5 victory.

There would be no rest for the weary, as the Hurricanes had to play Sunday at the Honda Center, against the Anaheim Ducks. In just over the first 12 minutes of the game, the Ducks had (center) Sam Carrick, (right winger) Frank Vatrano, & (defenseman) Pavel Mintyukov all scored on (Hurricanes goalie) Antti Raanta.

The Ducks ended the first period with a 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes finally scored on (Ducks goalie) Lukáš Dostál, late in the second period, as Teravainen scored near the 14-minute mark. Nearly 3 minutes later, Vatrano scored his 2nd goal of the game. The Ducks ended the period with a 5-2 lead. In the third period, the Hurricanes nearly made a comeback. At 1:07, (Ducks center) Ryan Strome was called for hooking. Just 6 seconds before Strome’s penalty expired, Teravainen scored a power play goal. Later in the period, (Ducks center) Trevor Zegras was called for holding Aho’s stick.

Nečas scored just 36 seconds into the power play to make it a 4-3 game with less than 5 minutes remaining in regulation. The Hurricanes pulled Raanta for an extra attacker, but (defenseman/alternate captain) Cam Fowler scored an empty-net goal with less than 2 minutes left in regulation. Then, 38 seconds later, Vatrano completed the hat trick with another empty-net goal. The Ducks would end the game with a 6-3 victory.

Finally, the Hurricanes would go to the SAP Center on Tuesday, where the San Jose Sharks would host them. The scoring started early, as (Sharks left winger) Fabian Zetterlund scored on Andersen, just 3:15 into the game. Unfortunately, the Sharks would enjoy a short-lived lead, as (defenseman) Nikolai Knyzhov was called for cross-checking, 14 seconds after the goal. Jarvis scored on (Sharks goalie) Mackenzie Blackwood to tie the game, 37 seconds into the power play. After Andersen took a puck to the helmet, Raanta came in to take over.

The first period would end with a 1-1 tie. In the second period, Kotkaniemi was called for holding, while the Hurricanes were on a power play. As the 4-on-4 turned into a Sharks power play, Slavin scored a short-handed goal to give the Hurricanes the lead. However, there was still time left on the power play, which (Sharks right winger) Filip Zadina took advantage of, as he scored 17 seconds after Slavin, to tie the game, again.

Later in the period, Skjei was called for holding. The Sharks scored with 4 seconds left on the power play, thanks to (left winger) William Eklund. The period ended with a 3-2 lead for the Sharks. In the third period, the Hurricanes brought some Shark repellent to the “Shark Tank”. It started over 7 minutes into the period, when (Sharks center/alternate captain) Tomas Hertl was called for tripping. It looked like the Hurricanes were about to have an unsuccessful power play, but (right winger) Stefan Noesen scored with 1 second left, to tie the game.

Nearly 2 minutes later, the Sharks committed another penalty, as (defenseman/alternate captain) Mario Ferraro was called for cross-checking. Jarvis would score his 2nd power play goal of the game, 54 seconds later, to regain the lead for the Hurricanes. Over 3 minutes later, the Hurricanes put this game out of reach, as Nečas & Pesce scored goals, 15 seconds apart. The Hurricanes ended their California trip with a 6-3 victory over the Sharks.

In these 3 games, the Hurricanes scored 8 of their 14 goals on either side of extra-man advantages (5 power play & 3 short-handed). Speaking of 14, there were 14 different players who got a goal or an assist, during their stay in the Golden State. Coincidentally, the Hurricanes will play these teams in reverse order, when the California teams visit the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Sharks will be there, next Friday (October 27th).

The Ducks will be there on January 11th & the Kings will be there, 4 days later. While they only came up golden in 2 of their 3 Golden State games, the Hurricanes want to be golden when it matters most…if they get to the Stanley Cup playoffs. If the players keep contributing like this, it will be a safe bet that the Hurricanes will be 24-carat, regardless of where they play.

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