The Carolina Hurricanes extended their winning streak to three games on Monday, downing the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, on the road.
Teuvo Teravainen, who now sits tied for second in the NHL with eight goals, recorded the game-winner, taking a beautiful backhanded feed from Michael Bunting after a failed clearing attempt by Philadelphia. Teravainen handled the puck from the slot and fired it past goaltender Carter Hart with under three minutes remaining to secure the win.
“He’s coming up big when we need it, that’s for sure,” said Rod Brind’Amour on Teravainen. “[We] were not playing well and all of sudden we had a chance. That’s the guy you want it on his stick right now because he’s finding a way to put it in the net.”
Bunting and Stefan Noesen each recorded a goal and assist, as Noesen’s score three minutes into the contest gave Carolina the early lead.
After two first period goals from Owen Tippett and Garnet Hathaway, the Hurricanes found themselves trailing 2-1 at the end of 20 minutes.
Forward Jack Drury appeared to tally his first goal of the season in the second period, which would have knotted the game at two, but the score was taken off the board due to an offsides call on Noesen.
But, with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second frame, Carolina converted their only power play opportunity of the night. Michael Bunting, who drew the interference call on Nick Seeler, was the beneficiary of a faceoff win, as Noesen collected the puck from the left circle and hit Bunting across the ice for the one-timer.
Six different Hurricanes recorded a point in their sixth win of the season, including Andrei Svechnikov, whose first point of the season was an assist on Noesen’s opening goal. With his return to the lineup, the fourth line with Noesen and Drury has seen vast improvement, combining for 11 shots on goal and three points in two games.
Not to be overlooked in net was Freddie Andersen. Monday’s contest had the feel of a game in which Carolina would not come out of with a win. Philadelphia pestered the Hurricanes in the third period, amassing 12 shots on goal. Andersen came up with big save after big save and kept the game knotted at two.
Andersen recorded a 26 saves, including 22 straight, on the night for a season-high .928 save percentage. The 34-year old netminder improved to 4-0 on the season and 2-0 on the road.
“When our system is clicking, we’re going to put ourselves in a really good position to win games,” said Andersen.
While Andersen turned in possibly his best game of the season in net, it was the Carolina penalty kill that also impressed.
The Flyers earned five power play opportunities on the night, yet failed to convert all five.
Although they have played the most games in the NHL, Carolina sits second for penalty minutes, accruing 136.
In turn, they had been one of the worst teams down a man to start the season, allowing 10 power play goals and stopping just 75% of opponents on the power play.
“It’s crazy. We can’t do that,” said Rod Brind’Amour regarding to number of penalty kills for Carolina. “The momentum got totally shifted in the first when we took the penalties. We have to stay out of the box. The penalty kill was the difference.”
Carolina’s ability to control the puck was also a factor, as the game-tying goal in the second was a direct result of a win in the circle. They won 39 of the 55 faceoffs in the win, dominating Philadelphia.
Monday night’s win will not go down as the cleanest win of the season for the Hurricanes.
Andersen allowed two goals that he likely would want back, Carolina committed five penalties, and the Flyers certainly spent much more time in the Hurricanes’ defensive zone than Brind’Amour would like.
But, over an 82 game season, especially when hindered by injuries, the mark of a good team is oftentimes winning games even without it being your night.
Carolina has managed to score three or more goals in nine of their first 10 games and they now sit second in the league with 37 goals on the year.
They will look to continue their winning ways on Thursday, as they take on the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.