The Carolina Hurricanes earned their biggest win of the season on Saturday, downing the New York Islanders, 4-3, in overtime.
In the extra period, Sebastian Aho, the forward for Carolina, took a drop off pass from Martin Necas, and beat goaltender Ilya Sorokin to give the Hurricanes their fourth road win of the season.
“We did a great job of not giving up. [Being] down three on the road is not easy to come back [from].” said Aho. “We had a few great individual efforts here and there, and we got rewarded.”
After trailing 3-0 in the second period and 3-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the road trip finale, all signs pointed to Carolina falling for the second consecutive game.
Sorokin had made multiple highlight reel saves and showcased why the Islanders have the second-best save percentage in the NHL.
But, with 7:41 remaining, Dmitry Orlov brought the game within one, firing a shot from the top of the point that ricocheted off an Islanders’ skate and into the back of the net.
Just minutes later, a prime opportunity to tie the game came after Scott Mayfield was whistled for hooking on Jesper Fast.
Two minutes on the man advantage would seemingly give the Hurricanes their best chance to tie the game at three apiece.
For 1:54, the power play did not instill much confidence, but a faceoff attempt in the left circle resulted in the game-tying goal.
Bo Horvat earned the victory on the draw, sending the puck into the boards, where Andrei Svechnikov gained control.
Skating behind the net, he fired the puck from the trapezoid, finding Kotkaniemi alone in front of the crease, where he beat Sorokin for the game-tying score.
The third period was dominated by Carolina, as they outshot New York 20-5 over the 20 minute session.
“It was tough to go down 3-0. We weren’t playing poorly,” said Rod Brind’Amour following the come from behind win. The third [period] was even better. It’s a great win for the boys, they deserved it.”
Lost in the shuffle is the performance of Antti Raanta, who bounced back from a slow start in net. Raanta stopped 12 straight shot attempts from the Islanders to close out the contest, including an impressive save on Noah Dobson’s snap shot in overtime.
He has now recorded a win in three straight decisions.
Dobson opened the scoring for New York in the final five minutes of the first period, scoring his third goal of the season and taking the team lead with 10 points.
The Islanders would extend their lead early in the second, as a turnover from Brent Burns on the power play led to a two-on-none rush, where Simon Holmstrom buried the shot past Raanta for a 2-0 advantage.
Matthew Barzal tallied the third goal for New York, putting the Hurricanes down by three scores while facing Sorokin in net.
Carolina pestered the 28-year old netminder throughout the comeback, amassing a season-high 47 shots on goal.
For the Hurricanes, the win was about cashing in on power play opportunities and avoiding the penalty kill, the two keys to the game.
Carolina converted one of their three power play chances and limited New York to just one opportunity on the man advantage. Entering the contest ranked 21st on the penalty kill made playing a clean game even more important.
Kotkaniemi was the leader for Rod Brind’Amour’s squad, tallying a goal and an assist to improve his team lead in points to 12.
Not to be overlooked is the first goal of the season for Jalen Chatfield. Down 3-0 and facing an uphill battle, he found the back of the net just 32 seconds after the Islanders extended their lead to three scores, quickly shifting the momentum and giving the Hurricanes a glimmer of hope.
He becomes the 16th skater for Carolina to score a goal this season, joining Orlov in scoring their first goal of the year in the win.
Carolina returns home for one contest in PNC Arena against Buffalo on Tuesday before traveling to Florida for back-to-back contests against the Panthers and Lightning.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm EST on Tuesday.