After joining the Hurricanes nine games into the campaign following ACL surgery, forward Andrei Svechnikov found himself still searching for his first goal entering Sunday’s contest against Columbus.
Although he did score a goal against Pittsburgh that was eventually called back due to offsides, his first good score had been eluding him.
In fact, the 23-year old had committed a penalty in seven consecutive games, but he had also tallied assists in four of the previous five games.
It was only a matter of time before the All-Star found the back of net and he did so in a big way.
With 1:59 remaining in a tied contest, Svechnikov took the feed from Aho straightaway, and beat Blue Jackets’ goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to give Carolina the 3-2 lead.
“I knew it was going to come,” said Svechnikov regarding his first goal of the season. “It’s just about the time, and it was the right time and the right moment, and a huge win for us.”
SVECH IS SO BACK pic.twitter.com/QWtRdVth2n
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 27, 2023
His game-winning score, which was his second point of the night, capped off a come-from-behind win after it appeared the Hurricanes would wrap up the homestand at 2-3 overall.
“He’s such a force. He’s a star in the league and a star for us, ” said Brady Skjei on Svechnikov. “He’s a guy that we know we can count on night in and night out.”
Heading into the third period, the contest remained scoreless with Merzlikins and Pyotr Kochetkov turning in impressive performances in net.
But, just 13 seconds into the final frame, Kirill Marchenko put Columbus on the board, as his shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off of Brady Skjei’s stick and fluttered over the shoulder of Kochetkov.
Six minutes later, it was a sense of deja vu, as a shot off the stick of Johnny Gaudreau was deflected by Skjei once again, and soared end over end past Kochetkov.
With just over 13 minutes remaining, Rod Brind’Amour and company found themselves trailing by multiple goals and on the verge of dropping their second consecutive contest.
The Blue Jackets had capitalized on a bit of misfortune for Carolina and the Hurricanes had seen chance after chance go off target or be stopped by Merzlikins.
Halfway through the period, their luck changed and the energy in the building shifted, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi handled a pass from Teuvo Teravainen in front of the crease and fired the puck past Merzlikins to put Carolina on the board.
This came after Brind’Amour swapped Teravainen and Svechnikov, as he looked for a spark.
That spark continued close to seven minutes later, as Brady Skjei put home a rebound on a Svechnikov shot attempt to knot the game at two apiece.
“It kind of felt like ‘here we go, it’s just not our night,’ but I give the guys a lot of credit,” said Brind’Amour. “There was no hanging their heads or anything. They just kept playing.”
That they did, as the third period, multi-goal comeback marked the 16th different season that the franchise has tallied multiple comeback wins in the third period. This ranks second-most all-time behind only Pittsburgh (17).
Important to note was that the Hurricanes stayed out of the penalty box, as Sunday marked their first contest without committing a penalty since Jan. 9, 2018 in a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay.
Not to be overlooked by the offensive barrage in the third period is the play of Kochetkov, who recorded 21 saves in the victory.
With the win, Carolina improves to 12-8-0 on the season, and moves into second place in the Metro Division.
A second trip to Philadelphia awaits, as the Hurricanes return to action on Tuesday against the Flyers.
Carolina took the first game of the season series, 3-2, and Philadelphia earned a 3-1 victory in Raleigh on Nov. 15.
Puck drop is set for 7:30pm.