Heading into the third period in San Jose, the Carolina Hurricanes trailed 3-2 and were in danger of dropping their second consecutive contest. Even with an evident disadvantage in the shots on goal department, the Sharks cashed in on five second period penalties on Carolina and were in line for their first victory of the season.
Rod Brind’Amour’s squad had seen flashbacks of Juuse Saros from Mackenzie Blackwood in the early going and allowed second period scores from Filip Zadina and William Eklund, both on the man advantage.
But, what had been their Achilles’ heel last season became the driving force for a victory: the power play.
The Hurricanes dominated the fourth period at the SAP Center, scoring four goals, including two on the man advantage.
Stefan Noesen buried home the game-tying score on the power play with 10:53 remaining, using a beautiful exchange from Brady Skjei to Jesperi Kotkaniemi that ended with the puck on Noesen’s stick right in front of the net.
Less than three minutes later, after Mario Ferraro was whistled for cross-checking, Seth Jarvis propelled Carolina in front, using his second power play goal of the night for the 4-3 lead.
The Hurricanes converted an impressive 42.9% of their power play opportunities, a stark contrast from their struggles last season.
“We were playing solid all game,” said Jaccob Slavin, who scored his second shorthanded goal of the season in the win. “We had chance after chance so we knew we just had to stick with it. Our power play came up huge in the third period.”
With all the momentum and a consistent offensive attack, Carolina was persistent on putting the game out of reach.
Martin Necas barreled down the right side, entering the offensive zone with the puck after a give-and-go with Michael Bunting, and used a nifty wraparound goal to extend the lead and silence the little noise from the San Jose crowd.
But, while his goal was being celebrated and broken down by Tripp Tracy and Mike Maniscalco, Brett Pesce decided to get in on the fun, finding the back of the net just 15 seconds later to give the game its final score.
The Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 42-16, highlighting their consistent pestering of goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and the San Jose defense.
Even more impressive for Carolina was earning the road win without Sebastian Aho and netminder Freddie Andersen. Aho was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, while Andersen exited the contest early in the first period after taking a puck to the mask.
Andersen’s absence was for precautionary reasons the team announced, but, it did make a David Ayres’ situation a possibility with just healthy goaltender.
Antti Raanta relieved Andersen in goal, tallying 12 saves on 14 shot attempts.
After serving as a healthy scratch in the last two contests, defenseman Jalen Chatfield joined Dmitry Orlov on the third defensive pairing, assisting Orlov as he gets acclimated to the new system in Raleigh.
Chatfield’s performance was noticeable, using his speed and defensive style to complement Orlov.
Six different Hurricanes tallied two points in the win, as Michael Bunting, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Brady Skjei each recorded two assists.
Carolina accrued 22 penalty minutes in the loss and both teams were whistled for seven penalties in what was a tightly-called contest.
After playing what was likely their best opening period of the season and braving an odd second frame, the Hurricanes were rewarded in the third. Tuesday’s victory marked their third of the young season and puts them alone atop the Metropolitan Division.
Carolina returns to action on Thursday, when they travel to Seattle to take on the Kraken.