Earlier this week, I penned an article saying that the Canes would need to find a higher gear mostly meaning more sound play if they were to push up into the playoffs again.
Then in both my game recap from Thursday and also my game preview for Saturday, I suggested that Thursday’s fun win was not all it was cracked up to be because of continued issues with quality of play.
And in the process, I led perfectly into the messy game that the Hurricanes played on Saturday and lost for 40 or more minutes.
But then the 2019-20 Carolina rose up defiantly and stormed back for a wild win. The game was exactly the opposite of what I continue to think the team ultimately needs to do to finish this season successfully. And it was an extreme version of the seemingly imperfect model for the 2019-20 team that has many times out-run or out-gunned any number of mistakes on the way to a win.
I guess at some point, I need to at least consider the possibility that maybe this team is just completely different than the 2018-19 team but with a chance to be successful nonetheless.
I am spent and do not have it in me to write a detailed recap, but let me try a few bullet points…
Vegas was the better team early and pretty much throughout the first two periods. Breakdowns and errors again cost the Canes. Aho missed covered and his man scored from between the circles. Slavin failed to clear a puck when he got his stick whacked and then was soft defending in front of the net such that his man was unhindered to tip a point shot for a goal. And Pesce got caught up leading to a 2-on-1 the other way that Gardiner did nothing to defend. Even after the Hurricanes took an improbable lead, Reimer got caught wandering a bit and in the process gave one way.
But oh the resiliency…
Aho continued his scoring ways potting another ‘just go to the right place and wait for the puck to show up goal and the top line added two more goals to its hot streak. Haula made the most of his return with a goal and an assist. More than any game since being acquired Gardiner was the offensive difference-maker he was acquired to be piloting the comeback by making plays to generate offense and picking up three assists for his work.
And ‘wow!’ the extra hockey
NHL overtimes are always excited, but as I said on Twitter, I really thought Saturday’s was at another level. Surprisingly, the Canes spending the first minute on the penalty kill was somewhat calm. But the second half of the overtime unleashed a massive volume of hockey goodness. Svechnikov and Pesce both clanged iron off the rush just missing game-winners, and Reimer made a crazy desperation save late to get the game to the shootout. All of this of course occurred in the fun back and forth fire wagon hockey that overtime usually is.
Then in the shootout, Svechnikov actually had the game-winner only to be overshadowed by Williams adding to his growing shootout legend with his third tally in three tries in 2019-20 to officially end it.
I could nitpick this game for sloppiness and issues just like the last one but will instead just leave it to stand on its own as a crazy ‘just find a way’ win.
Next up is the finale for the four-game road trip in Dallas on Saturday.