Hurricanes rally to force overtime, fall to Lightning

Chip Alexander
·6 min read

It wasn’t a playoff game, but the teams played like it was, with all the appropriate fury.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning went at it with a purpose Monday at Amalie Arena, neither team backing down nor holding back as the Lightning emerged with a 3-2 overtime victory.

Yanni Gourde knocked in a rebound at 2:50 of the overtime for the winner. Canes goalie Petr Mrazek stopped Gourde’s first shot but could not find the puck as Gourde knocked it in.

Tampa Bay (30-13-2) led 1-0 after the first period then 2-0 early in the second period, at times keeping the puck for long periods in the Canes’ zone. But the Canes (29-10-5), who came into the game as the Central Division leaders, clawed back.

Andrei Svechnikov’s power-play goal in the second period got the Canes on the board, Svechnikov’s 13th of the season and his third in the past three games. Defenseman Brady Skjei then tied the score 2-2 just 1:08 into the third after the Canes forced a turnover in the Tampa Bay zone with their forecheck.

The hits came often, and often hard. During the third period, Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn leveled winger Martin Necas with an open-ice hit. Killorn then dropped the gloves with defenseman Jake Gardiner, who was back in the lineup, Killorn picking up a five-minute fighting major.

Necas left the ice and was taken to the locker room for evaluation, but later returned and played in the overtime.

Killorn scored his 12th of the season in the first period with a breakaway for Tampa Bay, and Brayden Point his 19th on a power play early in the second for the 2-0 lead.

After Jesper Fast forced Alex Barre-Boulet to lose the puck in the Tampa zone, Skjei grabbed the loose puck at the top of the left circle and scored his second of the season at 1:08 for a 2-2 tie. Sebastian Aho was in front of the net, screening Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Updates from earlier in the game:

Second period: Svechnikov scores

Andrei Svechnikov has a power-play goal and the Canes trail the Lightning 2-1 after the second period.

Svechnikov, who now has goals in three straight games, drilled a shot from the left circle that beat Andrei Vasilevskiy. Svechnikov took a pass from Dougie Hamilton, who earned his 30th assist of the season, and scored his 13th of the season.

The Lightning used an early power play in the second period to take a 2-0 lead on a Brayden Point redirection.

Tampa used a strong push early in the period to force a holding penalty on Vincent Trocheck at 1:26 of the second. Point then scored his 19th of the season at 2:08 as Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman earned assists.

The Lightning spent much of the period in the Canes zone, forcing some long, draining shifts for the Canes. On one shift, center Sebastian Aho was on the ice for 2:39 and defenseman Brett Pesce 2:40 as the Canes could not clear the zone and make changes.

Canes goalie Petr Mrazek faced 16 shots in the second. He made a critical save late in the period when Pat Maroon had the puck all alone in front and quickly went forehand to backhand.

The Lightning have outshot the Canes 25-16 through two periods.

First period: Tampa leads 1-0

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Tampa makes you pay for mistakes as well as any team in the league. The Canes made one in the first period. They paid for it and trailed 1-0 after the first period.

Alex Killorn took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Canes to score the game’s first goal at 14:42. Killorn had a breakaway after a quick pass from Tyler Johnson off the wall for his 12th of the season as the Lightning caught the Canes’ Jordan Martinook leaving on a change and no one checking Killorn.

The Canes had their chances in the first but goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, coming off a rare loss on home ice, made all the stop. The Canes also hurt themselves at times by overpassing the puck and passing up shooting opportunities.

The Canes had the only power play in the first period but got little out of it. The Lightning picked up some momentum from the kill and controlled much of the last six or seven minutes of the period took the lead.

Game setup

The Hurricanes open a road trip Monday with the first of two games against Tampa Bay, followed by two against the Florida Panthers this week. That’s the Central Division leadership group of three.

Will it be an early preview of the Stanley Cup playoffs, or just four regular-season games in April?

“I don’t know. I still feel like we still have a little bit to go to get to that point but obviously Tampa and Florida are two of the elite teams in the league,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said after Monday’s morning skate. “They’re going to be there at the end and we’re going to have to go through one of them, if not both of them at some point if we want to have success.”

Under the postseason format for 2021, the first two rounds of the playoffs will be intradivisional. It’s possible the Canes could face either the Lightning or Panthers, or both, if they win.

“It’s going to be a challenge no matter what,” Brind’Amour said. “You get to the playoffs and it’s a different animal, but we’ll talk about that when and if we get there.”

The Canes, Lightning and Panthers have leapfrogged each other at the top of the Central. The Canes (29-10-4) go into Monday’s game leading the division with 62 points, one ahead of Florida and two in front of Tampa Bay -- the Canes have two games-in-hand on the Panthers and one on the Lightning.

After this week, the Canes will not face either the Lightning or Panthers again as the 56-game regular season comes to an end.

The lineup

Brind’Amour said Monday the intention was to use two goaltenders down the stretch of the regular season and said Petr Mrazek would start Monday’s game.

And to complete the back-to-back Tuesday against Tampa Bay? Alex Nedeljkovic or James Reimer? Brind’Amour wouldn’t say.

“It’s tough on those guys because you’re not going to make everybody happy,” he said. “We just have to do what’s best for the group. We’re probably going to lean to two guys more just to keep them sharp.”

In one lineup change, defenseman Jake Gardiner will be paired with Jani Hakanpaa. Defenseman Jake Bean will be a healthy scratch.

Teravainen update

Forward Teuvo Teravainen is with the team on the six-game road trip that ends next week with two games against Dallas. It’s possible the forward, who has played one game since Feb. 19 as he recovers from a concussion, could rejoin the lineup during the trip, Brind’Amour said.

“We’re waiting on him to say ‘book me in’ and then he’ll go in,” Brind’Amour said. “Hopefully he’ll get the bug and feel good and he’ll get in there.”