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Carolina Hurricanes

You Can’t Spell Canes Without Necas

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Carolina Hurricanes, Martin Necas, Rod Brind'Amour

The Carolina Hurricanes returned home for the first time in 15 days on Wednesday, earning a thrilling 3-2 victory in overtime over the Seattle Kraken. Not only did they move to 2-0 on home ice, but they snapped a three-game losing skid.

Freddie Andersen recorded 24 saves in goal, Jesperi Kotkaniemi knotted the game at two-apiece with under five minutes to go, but it was Martin Necas that willed Rod Brind’Amour’s squad to victory.

Entering a contract season, especially after recording the best campaign of his career and leading the team in points, a big year was expected for the 24-year old. Even with these expectations, he’s been everything Carolina could ask for and more.

Necas is tied for the team lead in points with Kotkaniemi (9), tallying four goals and five assists in eight contests. He has recorded a point in six contests, including three in the win over Seattle.

“He was amazing tonight, obviously,” said Brady Skjei. “The way he can skate and move the puck, he was the star of the show tonight.”

A return to Raleigh must have been welcomed by Necas, as he wasted no time finding the back of the net and cutting into the Seattle lead.

With less than two minutes left in the opening period, a poor pass off of the boards from goaltender Joey Daccord led to an ill-timed slip and fall from defenseman Brian Dumoulin. Kotkaniemi gathered the loose puck, fired a pass behind the net to Michael Bunting, and the former Maple Leaf found Necas right in front of the crease for the opening score.

Seattle had already made their presence known, using goals from center Devin Shore and right winger Oliver Bjorkstrand in the opening 10 minutes to grab a 2-1 advantage at the first intermission.

Similar to the past three contests, not much seemed to be going Carolina’s way after that, and their performance seemed destined to come up short.

With the score plateauing for over 40 minutes, the Hurricanes found themselves less than five minutes away from a four-game losing streak.

Enter Martin Necas (again).

Brady Skjei intercepted a pass in the defensive zone to create a rush alongside Necas. Skjei, who barreled down the right side, fired across the ice to Necas, where he turned and fired a pass to a trailing Kotkaniemi to set up a 1-on-1 chance.

Kotkaniemi fired the puck past Daccord, giving Necas his second point of the night and knotting the game at two-apiece.

Following a scoreless final four minutes, Carolina and Necas found themselves in a place they’ve been more than comfortable: overtime.

Necas would begin the extra session on the bench, but he would finish it as the hero.

With just eight seconds remaining, Tony DeAngelo sent over a backhanded pass, lining up Necas with a clean look at Daccord, a look that he would not miss.

Necas buried the puck into the back of the net to end the three-game losing streak and amass a three-point night.

“I feel like our whole line [with Bunting and Kotkaniemi] played a great game and all three [of us] contributed,” said Necas. “It was like a five-man game [with the defensemen] and that’s how we have to play.”

Like the Caniacs say, you can’t spell Canes without Necas, and if there was ever a time that sentiment rang true, it was on Thursday inside PNC Arena.

By no means was the performance perfect for Carolina, but an “ugly” win feels and looks much better than a pretty loss, especially when eyeing down a four-game losing streak.

The Hurricanes outshot Seattle 45-26 and were part of a clean game, as each team was whistled for just one penalty. Necas and Brent Burns led the way with six shot attempts, while Jordan Staal aided the effort with 12 faceoffs won.

After going on their yearly west coast road trip, where they lost four of six and suffered injuries to Sebastian Aho, Freddie Andersen, and Brett Pesce, getting back on home ice and returning to .500 was much needed for Carolina.

A short turnaround awaits, as the Hurricanes return to action at PNC Arena on Friday, as they host the San Jose Sharks. Carolina will look to sweep the season series following a 6-3 victory in San Jose on Oct. 17.

Puck drop is set for 7:00pm in Raleigh.

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