Hurricanes score six third-period goals, shock Canucks in 8-6 win

Highest scoring game of the NHL season ends with Carolinas seventh-straight home win

James Guillory—USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak watches his third period empty net goal against the Vancouver Canucks while fans celebrateat PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Vancouver Canucks 8-6.

RALEIGH — It doesn’t get much wilder than Tuesday’s game at PNC Arena.The Carolina Hurricanes scored six third-period goals, erasing a three-goal deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks, 8-6.The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t play well in the first period, but they exited it with a one-goal lead. However, the team’s loose play caught up to them, and Vancouver scored four times in the second period en route to a 5-2 lead.Alexandre Burrows and Markus Granlund scored at 4:11 and 5:24 of the period, respectively, chasing Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. Less than four minutes later a shotby Ben Hutton gave the Canucks a two-goal cushion.”Not a very good mood,” Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner said. “It’s not a good feeling when you sort of leave guys out to dry like that. I think we owed Wardo a lot better than that.Then Sven Baerschi, who scored in the first, got his second of the night to cap off Vancouver’s four-goal second period. It looked like Carolina’s six-game home winning streak was over. It wasn’t.Opening the third period on the power play, the Hurricanes (12-11-6) got a goal from Jeff Skinner 76 seconds into the period — his second goal of the night with the man-advantage.”Crazy. I give the guys all the credit in the world,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “We knew how big that power play was to start the third period, and we knew if we had a successful power play, whether it scored or not, we could get momentum from that. And obviously we got the ultimate payoff with the goal, and it did give us momentum.”It was just the beginning of what was to come.Ron Hainsey. Victor Rask. Justin Faulk. Before the third period even hit the six-minute mark, all three had scored, Canucks starter Ryan Miller joined Ward in the pulled goalie brigade, and Carolina had catapulted to an improbable 6-5 lead. Jordan Staal, in his first game back from a concussion, scored on Jacob Markstrom at 12:38 of the period for a two-goal cushion, but Brandon Sutter — the former Hurricanes draft pick Staal was traded for nearly four-and-a-half years ago — pulled the Canucks (12-16-2) back within one 92 seconds later.When Elias Lindholm took an offensive zone penalty with 4:23 remaining, the Carolina penalty kill, ranked No. 1 in the NHL, was called on to again shut the door. Backstopped by Michael Leighton, they did, and Lee Stempniak’s empty-net goal in the final minute sealed the improbable come-from-behind win.”Our penalty kill, since I’ve been here, has been phenomenal,” Leighton said. “It’s been good since before I got here, too. I think that’s a huge part of this team’s identity. If you can kill penalties like that every game, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win. Obviously, that’s what we did tonight.”The Hurricanes opened the scoring 5:27 into the first period when Sebastian Aho got his fifth goal of the season. The rookie winger crashed the net on a 3-on-2 and was rewarded when Brett Pesce found him in front for a 1-0 lead.The Canucks were quick to get it back. A Ward save and scrum in front of the Carolina net led to the puck sitting in front of the crease, and Baertschi picked it up and beat Ward to tie the game.Skinner got his first goal of December when the Hurricanes converted its first power play of the night. Noah Hanifin fired a shot from the left point that Miller wasn’t able to hold on to, and Skinner deposited it for his 10th goal and a 2-1 lead at 9:25 of the first.Notes: Four Hurricanes (Faulk, Rask, Skinner and Derek Ryan) finished with three points, and three more had two-point nights. In all, 12 different Hurricanes registered at least one point. … Eleven Canucks had a point, with Baertschi leading the way with three (two goals and an assist) … Carolina went 2-for-3 on the power play and killed off both Vancouver opportunities. … Defensive partners Noah Hanifin and Matt Tennyson each finished minus-3 on the game. … Faulk’s nine shots on goal were a game high and are tied for the second most in a game by a defenseman in a season (Brent Burns). Aaron Ekblad registered 11 shots in a game earlier this season.