Whatever it was, home cooking, the electrified fans, or just a good ole talking to by Rod Brind’Amour, the Canes beat the Seattle Kraken 3-2 with just seconds remaining in the OT period to hopefully get this team back on track. Both teams have had disappointing starts to the young season (now 10% gone), and the individual stats show it: on the ever-debatable +/-, the Canes only have 5 players in the + column, while the Kraken have just 2. Goalkeeping for both teams has been anemic with the Kraken goalies posting save percentages of .896 and .898, but those tower over the Canes at .855/.818/.836.
The Kraken have had issues finding the back of the net, only getting 16 while giving up 20. In the 7 games, the Canes have 27 goals, but gave up 30 despite the best defense, on paper, in the league. Their only positive stat is goals. In the 7 games, they have 27 goals, but gave up 30; this isn’t normal Canes nor Rod Brind’Amour hockey, and fans should expect changes in results real fast.
Canes Down 2 After 1st Period
The Kraken pummeled the Canes in Seattle last week 7-4, so the Canes had that extra incentive to dig a little deeper. In that game, the Canes started off real slow, but overall played a good game, which is hard to justify when giving up 7 goals. In this game, the Canes started strong, with virtually all the play going their way in the first 5 minutes.
As an all-too-often occurrence, the opposing team scored the all-important first goal. After taking a long pass from Jaden Schwartz, Oliver Bjorkstrand made a 90-degree cut from the far board to the center high slot, gave a shoulder fake left that froze Brent Burns for a nanosecond, but just enough time to allow Bjorkstrand to rifle one high glove side over Freddie Andersen’s shoulder.
Only 3-½ minutes later, Bjorkstrand made a 100-foot headman pass to Devon Shore, who had 2 steps on Sebastian Aho going in on Andersen, slipping the puck 5-hole for a 2-0 Kraken lead. Andersen’s standards and expectations for himself are high, but when good goals like that are scored, you just have to tip your hat.
The Canes continued dominating the play, and shot selection were their best this young season, with the Canes outshooting the Kraken 15-8 in the first period.
Necas’ Late Goal Sparks Comeback
In the second, the Canes started where they left off, dominating possession. Forechecking came back into play, with the only thing missing in a big way being a net-front presence, allowing Joey Daccord a clear view. Burns is amazingly agile for a big guy and at times was taking action to make things happen. He and Seth Jarvis are good friends, and it looked like Burns, at 6’5″, was trying to do moves like the slippery 5’10” Jarvis does on nearly every shift.
On one play, Burns got the puck on the high side of the right point, carried the puck along the blue line, decking players along the near boards, and then made a centering pass. Pretty impressive, but then again the guy is pure muscle. Late in the period, Jesperi Kotkaniemi made a great block just inside the Kraken blue line, sending the puck to the far corner. Daccord left the crease to retrieve the puck, with Michael Bunting in quick pursuit. Daccord sent the puck back around the net, but former Canes draft pick Brian Dumolin tripped over the goal line, falling awkwardly, allowing KK to gain possession, and return the puck to Bunting.
Bunting saw Martin Necas planted on top of the crease and sent a crisp pass that Necas smacked into the net just as he was being checked to the ice to close the gap 2-1 with less than 2 minutes in the second.
Kotkaniemi Ties It, Necas Second Of The Game Wins It
Rod’s message in between periods had to be just keep doing what you’re doing as overall, this was the Canes’ best game of the season. To a player, everyone was having an excellent game. As coaches say, ‘it’s only a matter of time when all that work will pay off.’ And it did. Net front presence was still below where it needed to be, but the forechecking was outstanding, the Canes were winning a majority of the battles along the boards, and still were getting off shots.
Late in the period, Brady Skjei and the play of the game. With the Kraken just crossing the Canes blue line, Skjei flopped his body to the ice to block a pass, quickly got up, corralled the puck, and then made a beeline to the Kraken end of the ice with 3 Canes joining the rush. Just as Skjei was getting close to the goal, he drew a defender and then passed to Necas on the left.
In one continuous move, Necas spun around, putting the puck on KK’s tape as he was coming full speed down Broadway, then lifted the puck top shelf with less than 4-½ minutes to play to tie the game and eventually sent it into overtime.
Jordan Staal won the critical initial face-off, giving the Canes the early possession. The Canes had a shot on goal then lost possession to the Kraken, who were more looking for the Canes to make a mistake rather than see what they could do on their own.
At one point behind the Canes’ net, Jaccob Slavin made a great play, stopping a pass with the Kraken player, then grabbing the stick away from Slavo, with the sellout crowd calling for a penalty, but the only 2 in the building that matter, the referees, swallowed their whistles. Without his stick, Slavo went to the front of the net, legally pushing his man out of the dirty area, then when a shot was made, he sacrificed his body, blocking the shot, allowing the Canes to gain possession.
With less than 10 seconds to go, Necas carried the puck into the Kraken’s zone, carefully setting up for a play. Necas got to the top of the slot, passing to Tony DeAngelo in the near circle. TDA initially thought shot but made a wiser choice of laying back, allowing both Necas and Jarvis to get into position. TDA then passed up to Necas, who managed to have 15 feet between him and his man, cocked his stick back, signaling Jarvis to go to the dirty area, and just as Jarvis went to the front of the net, Necas let fly a wrister into the upper right corner for the 3-2 OT winner with 9.5 seconds left.
Hopefully, this is the game that turns things around for the Canes as they have no time for rest as the next game is in 21 hours against the San Jose Sharks.