Hurricanes confident entering clash with Panthers
Posted on: 09 Nov, 2023 at 08:06 PM
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Carolina Hurricanes are the kings of overtime -- in the regular season, at least.
On Friday night, the Hurricanes are set to visit the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla.
Both teams have won two straight games. But Carolina is working on a much more impressive streak, winning 10 straight regular-season games over the past year that have been settled in overtime. It's tied for the second-longest streak in NHL history.
On Tuesday, Carolina beat the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Martin Necas' overtime goal. Sebastian Aho had the primary assist, making the pass that led to Necas' deflection.
"Talented players find a way to make things happen," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said.
Indeed, it was the fifth overtime goal in a two-season span for Necas, who beat Seattle 3-2 in OT last month.
"I like it," Necas said of the 3-on-3 format in the extra five-minute period. "There's a lot of space to make plays."
Ironically, the Panthers swept the Hurricanes in last season's Eastern Conference finals, and two of those games were won in overtime. All four games were decided by one goal.
The Hurricanes on Friday are expected to start veteran goalie Antti Raanta (4-1-0, 2.83 goals-against average).
Frederik Andersen, who normally splits starts with Raanta, is out indefinitely due to a blood-clotting issue that was discovered on Monday.
Pyotr Kochetkov, a 24-year-old Russian, has been called up to serve as Raanta's backup.
When injuries hit the Hurricanes at goalie last season, Kochetkov was impressive, going 12-7-5 with a 2.44 GAA.
Offensively, Teuvo Teravainen leads Carolina with eight goals. Aho and defenseman Brady Skjei share the team lead with eight assists. And Jesperi Kotkaniemi (12) and Necas (11) are top-two in points.
Meanwhile, the Panthers' two-game win streak is the result of overtime goals by Carter Verhaeghe (to beat Columbus, 5-4) and by Sam Reinhart (defeating Washington, 4-3).
In the win over Columbus, Florida trailed 4-3 before getting the tying goal with just 57 seconds left in the third period. In the win over Washington, Florida trailed 3-2 in the third period before making its move.
"When we're down in games, the (locker-room) doesn't get quiet," Panthers winger Evan Rodrigues said. "We're not going to roll over.
"(Knowing that is) motivating, and I think that's why you see so many of our comebacks late in games."
The Panthers have been without their top two defensemen all season as Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad recover from shoulder operations.
In addition, forward Sam Bennett, who scored 16 goals last season, is out due to a lower-body injury.
Yet, the Panthers don't seem bothered.
"The identity we're trying to build," Reinhart said, "is to be successful even when you are not 100 percent."
Reinhart leads the Panthers in goals (nine) and points (15). Matthew Tkachuk tops Florida with nine assists.
Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-3-1 with a 2.71 GAA. That's an improvement, so far at least, from his 3.07 GAA last season.
Panthers backup goalie Anthony Stolarz is 1-1-0 with a 2.57 GAA in two games. He is due for a start soon.
--Field Level Media