RALEIGH, N.C. – With Halloween a few days away, Andrei Svechnikov provided Carolina Hurricanes fans quite a treat at PNC Arena on Tuesday.
The young Russian forward tallied two goals in a span of just over three minutes that eventually led Carolina to close out a 2-1 decision over the Calgary Flames.
It was not only how many, but how Svechnikov scored those goals that was the talk among everyone in the building.
Picking up the slack
A lacrosse pick-up of the puck from behind the Calgary net and eventual backhand scoop into the right near-side corner caught Flames goaltender David Rittich off-guard.
Before he could realize which direction Svechnikov was coming from, the puck hit the mesh to tie the score 1-1 at the 9:13 mark of the third period.
The highlight-reel goal preceded his subsequent game-winner on the power play, a snipe that Rittich had no chance of seeing with Eric Haula screening him.
”For sure, it makes you more confident,” Svechnikov said alluding to continue potting goals in successive games.
While saying he had tried the move playing in the OHL, but came up hitting the crossbar, his successful execution pleased, but didn’t overly impress coach Rod Brind’Amour.
According to him, he saw it coming.
“He practices it every day, for the past two years and he did it every day as a kid,” Brind’Amour said.
“He never misses it in practice, so it was just a matter of time before it was going to happen. Obviously, it was a huge moment; we needed it.”
A one-time finish from former Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm put Carolina behind at the 13:04 mark of the opening period.
Playing a similar game, both teams shot numerous pucks towards each opposing Czech goalie as the Canes’ Petr Mrazek compiled 28 saves while Rittich came up with a few less at 26 thanks to Svechnikov.
A strong second period attempted but didn’t break the Hurricanes down further despite being outshot 13-7.
Instead, a dominant third eventually led to turnovers and the opportunity to even the score and earn the win.
“It’s 20 minutes of hockey. It’s 20 minutes long and we took two penalties,” Calgary coach and former Canes bench boss Bill Peters said.
“They got momentum and scored on a turnover…The lacrosse goal, give him credit for the creativity and execution there.”
Enjoying the moment
Teammate Dougie Hamilton said that he and Svechnikov’s other teammates were excited, even laughing after seeing the puck tuck behind Rittich’s head.
“I think he was pretty shocked too,” Hamilton said.
“He was smilin’ and laugin’ for a few minutes after that. So happy that he scored that.”
Winning their second game in a row, the Hurricanes pushed their record to 8-3-1 for 17 points and matched the most wins and points in the month of October in franchise history.
Still early in the season, and not sneaking up on any opponent they’ll face, Carolina’s ability to get more offensive contribution from Svechnikov will pose a challenge that will be hard to deny.
“It’s gonna be tough for him to get that off again now, everybody knows about it,” Brind’Amour said.
“He’s a special player that has a special talent and he was able to show it tonight.”
Notables: Carolina finished 1-3 on the power play, 9-39 (23.1%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 3-3, 37-45 (82.2%) overall…Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of the inaugural game the team played at what was then known as the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The Hurricanes suffered a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils…Defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s assist on Svechnikov’s game-winning goal added to his team-leading 13-point total to-date (6g, 7a). He extended his point streak to five games, matching the longest of his career.
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