RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks at PNC Arena on Friday.
Though they earned a point, the Hurricanes’ recent four-game win streak came to an end as goals from Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles weren’t enough, even while outshooting the Canucks 40-22.
Canucks goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves to earn the win, while Carolina’s Cam Ward stopped 19 and absorbed the loss.
Markstrom, along with Vancouver forward Bo Horvat, who scored two goals including the game winner, were the difference-makers in this one.
Horvat’s two-goal performance matched his previous output against Carolina when he scored twice to give the Canucks a 3-2 win at home on Jan. 6.
Markstrom extended his career win streak against the Hurricanes to 3-0 as Vancouver swept the two-game season series with Carolina for the second straight year, and posted their 13th win in 15 games against the Hurricanes.
“You just get it on net,” Jordan Staal said of working to beat the Vancouver goalie throughout the game.
“There’s lots of bodies there. Bounces like we got on our second happen. We kept just tryin’ to move it towards the net and create space for ourselves to get a good shot off. We did a good job of stickin’ with it through the second and the third. Obviously, our start wasn’t great, but we did a good job of gettin’ a point.”
Carolina’s pace during the first period was steady, but not explosive.
As a result, a turnover in the neutral zone turned into opportunity for Vancouver.
Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin’s attempt at moving the puck along the boards at the center line hit Vancouver forward Alex Burrows and deflected forward to Linden Vey.
Vey carried it across the Hurricanes blue line on the left wing and snapped a shot that beat Ward to the stick side.
It was Vey’s first goal of the season and put the Canucks ahead 1-0 at the 13:14 mark.
The Canucks got into penalty trouble later in the period as Brandon Prust was called for holding Nathan Gerbe, who played his first game after missing 25 contests due to an ankle injury suffered back on Nov. 22.
Carolina capitalized on the man-advantage opportunity when Versteeg tied it up with 1:33 to play in the period.
Scoring his eighth goal of the season, Versteeg was the recipient of a quick-touch passing play initiated by John-Michael Liles on the left boards.
The puck moved from Liles to Staal in the high slot and back to Slavin on the point.
Slavin found Versteeg wide open at the right faceoff dot and he made no mistake with a slap shot that beat Markstrom high to the glove side to even the score 1-1.
Both teams went into the first intermission even while Carolina outshot the Canucks by a 9-6 margin and in the midst of another power play following a double-minor to Jake Virtanen for high-sticking.
“We were off,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“We got more committed as the game wore on. We weren’t very committed to doin’ it right earlier.”
Justin Faulk tested Markstom with a blast from the point to start the second period.
Carolina managed another few shots during the tail end of its second man-advantage, but came up empty-handed as Markstrom stopped each attempt that came his way.
Carolina continued to dominate in maintaining puck possession in the Vancouver zone, and outshot the Canucks considerably throughout the first half of the period.
Earning its chances in spurts, Vancouver managed to pull ahead.
A quick wrister from Horvat at the other end caught Ward off guard, and put Vancouver ahead 2-1 at the 9:32 mark.
Bringing the puck in down along the left boards, Horvat used Slavin as screen and wired a rising shot that caught the upper corner to Ward’s left.
At the other end, a full minute of possession and multiple shots on Markstrom from Staal, Andrej Nestrasil and Joakim Nordstrom couldn’t bring Carolina any closer at the end of 40 minutes.
While outshooting the Canucks 19-5 in the period, the Canucks held the one-goal lead heading into the third period.
The storyline continued with Markstrom continuing to make repeated saves and denied the Hurricanes from pulling closer, stopping eight shots in as many minutes.
The Hurricanes didn’t relent and finally tied it when Liles pinched in deep and fired the puck towards the Vancouver crease and ricocheted off Vancouver defenseman Matt Bartkowski’s skate before going into the net.
Liles’ fourth goal of the season tied it up 2-2 with 2:10 remaining in regulation with Nestrasil and Victor Rask earning assists on the play.
Both teams were unable to score the go-ahead goal for the remainder of regulation time and continued into the five-minute overtime period.
Daniel Sedin took the first dangerous shot that could have ended the game, but Ward made an impressive glove save on it.
Ward made two more saves while Markstrom was tested with one before Horvat’s booming slapper beat the Carolina keeper and gave the Canucks the win.
Though not earning the win, Peters was appreciative of pushing the finish into overtime.
“I’m glad we got the point,” Peters said.
“I’m glad they stuck with it and they were resilient. We had some really good looks through the last 40 minutes. I’m glad we stuck with it and we found a way to get a point on a night when you don’t play a complete game.”