Hurricanes with Back-to-Back Wins

By Rockin’ Reese

The Carolina Hurricanes needed Christmas break perhaps more than most teams. They had lost 4 of their last 5 games, albeit each loss was by 1 goal and 3 of the games went into overtime or a shootout. However, a back-to-back Wednesday & last night rejuvenated the Hurricanes and put them back on the winning track.

On Wednesday, they went to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee to play the Nashville Predators. On December 15th, the Predators defeated the Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. They won 6-5, with an overtime goal from (left winger) Filip Forsberg. The Hurricanes were looking for revenge in “Music City” & they got it.

In the first period, (Predators center) Cody Glass was called for interference, just past the 9-minute mark. After a puck battle against 2 Predators players, (right winger) Andrei Svechnikov got the puck to (defenseman) Brent Burns. There were multiple puck exchanges with Burns, (center/alternate captain) Sebastian Aho, Svechnikov, & (center) Seth Jarvis. Just 47 seconds into the power play, Aho fired a laser past (Predators goalie) Juuse Saros for a power play goal. 

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With less than 6 minutes remaining in the period, (Predators left winger) Cole Smith was called for interference. The Hurricanes took advantage of this power play, too. After (left winger) Michael Bunting nearly scored, after a battle along the boards, Svechnikov fed the puck to Aho. He saw Burns in position & passed it to him. While Svechnikov screened Saros, Burns unloaded with a slapshot for a power play goal. The Hurricanes led 2-0 at the end of the period.

In the second period, the Predators scored 1:18 into the period. After (center/alternate captain) Ryan O’Reilly had his shot saved by (Hurricanes goalie) Pyotr Kochetkov, (left winger) Gustav Nyqvist saw the puck ricochet off of Kochetkov & put in the net. Over 2 minutes later, the Hurricanes responded. After a puck battle at center ice, Burns retrieved the puck & reset behind Kochetkov’s net.

He passed to Svechnikov, who quickly passed to (left winger) Teuvo Teravainen. After the puck was poke checked away from Teravainen, Aho set up Svechnikov for a goal. Just before the 5-minute mark, (Hurricanes defenseman) Jalen Chatfield was called for tripping. It took the Predators only 11 seconds to make Chatfield pay for that trip. After O’Reilly won a face-off, (defenseman/captain) Roman Josi fired a missile that Kochetkov thought he saved. However, (center) Colton Sissons tipped the puck under Kochetkov, allowing O’Reilly to get a power play goal.

Later in the period, the Hurricanes responded, again. After a face-off, (defenseman) Brady Skjei had his shot blocked. Thankfully for him, (right winger) Stefan Noesen got the puck & passed it to (right winger) Jesper Fast. After Fast was knocked down by Glass, (center) Jack Drury scored the goal just before the 10-minute mark. With 2:25 remaining in the period, (Predators right winger) Luke Evangelista was called for a high-sticking double minor. It took 19 seconds for the Hurricanes to add to their lead.

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After Aho won a face-off, Svechnikov quikcly passed to Burns, who sent an airborne pass to Bunting. After sending the puck back to Burns, it was set-up time for Aho. He passed to Bunting who fired a shot & Jarvis redirected the puck past Saros for Carolina’s 3rd power play goal of the game. With no scoring for the remainder of the second period or in the third period, the Hurricanes won 5-2.

Last night, the Hurricanes were home against the Montréal Canadiens. The crowd at PNC Arena was already excited, but Svechnikov made them more excited, 1:35 into the game. Svechnikov delivered a check to (Canadiens defenseman) Justin Barron, who turned the puck over. Burns flipped it to Teravainen at center ice, then Teravainen dropped it back for Aho. After making sure the play didn’t go offside, Aho passed to Burns who fired a rocket, which Svechnikov redirected past (Canadiens goalie) Cayden Primeau.

With less than 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the first period, the Hurricanes struck again. After (Canadiens center/captain) Nick Suzuki lost control of the puck, Svechnikov passed it to (defenseman/alternate captain) Jaccob Slavin. He & Aho exchanged the puck, until Slavin tried to set up Fast for a shot. Fast’s shot was blocked by (Canadiens defenseman/alternate captain) Mike Matheson. Burns retrieved the puck & passed to Aho, who set up Fast for the goal.

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While the Hurricanes started hot, the Canadiens finished hot. After a puck battle, (defenseman) Jayden Struble got the puck & passed it to (center) Mitchell Stephens, who blasted the puck into Montréal’s offensive zone. It was retrieved by (right winger) Jesse Ylönen, who passed it to Struble. His shot deflected off of (left winger) Michael Pezzetta & (Hurricanes defenseman) Brett Pesce. Stephens got to the puck & shot it past Raanta, 1:11 after Fast’s goal. With 4:10 remaining, Drury thought he had a goal, but after it was challenged by the Canadiens, it was overturned, because of goalie interference.

With 35 seconds remaining in the period, Svechnikov was called for tripping. The Hurricanes cleared the puck with 15 seconds to go, but Matheson quickly skated back toward the offensive zone. After exchanging the puck with (center) Sean Monahan, Matheson wrapped around the net to score a power play goal with 4 seconds left. The period ended with a 2-2 tie.

In the second period, the Hurricanes regained the lead, 1:29 into the period. After puck battles, (right winger) Stefan Noesen & Drury delivered big checks to keep the puck away from the Canadiens. Noesen passed to Fast, who sniped Primeau for his 2nd goal of the game. That gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead, at the end of the second. In the third period, it would be the Canadiens with a quick goal.

After (right winger) Josh Anderson blocked Skjei’s shot, he was on a breakaway & delivered a backhand that slowly went over the line to tie the game. With over 6 minutes remaining in regulation, the Hurricanes regained the lead, again. After Aho won a face-off, Pesce quickly passed to Svechnikov with an one-timer for his 2nd goal of the game.

With less than 1 minute left in regulation, (Canadiens right winger) Cole Caufield was called for slashing. Primeau was pulled for an extra attacker with less than 30 seconds to go, but after Burns took the puck away from Matheson, Aho passed to Svechnikov who scored an empty-net power play goal for a hat trick. The Hurricanes won 5-3 & treated their fans to the last “storm surge” of 2023.

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