RALEIGH — It took nearly 50 minutes and a bit of slight of hand from the Hurricanes’ resident magician two days ahead of Halloween, but the Carolina Hurricanes found a way to beat Bill Peters and the Calgary Flames.
Andrei Svechnikov’s lacrosse-style goal 9:13 into the third period got Carolina on the board and tied the game, then the Hurricanes’ 19-year-old added a power play snipe just over three minutes later for the lead and a 2-1 win Tuesday at PNC Arena in front of 13,864.
“I went behind the net and I feel like I should try that,” Svechnikov said of his highlight-reel goal on Calgary’s David Rittich. “I actually practiced this move this morning, so it’s a great shot to try for me.”
He then added the cherry on top at 12:35 of the third, firing a shot from the left circle past Rittich’s glove to give the Hurricanes their first lead.
“When you score you’ve got more confidence, and I scored last game and I’m like, ‘I have to shoot again,’ said Svechnikov, who also had two goals in Carolina’s 4-0 win Saturday over Chicago.
But after the game, everyone was talking about the first goal — first entered into hockey lore by the University of Michigan’s Mike Legg on March 24, 1996, in the NCAA Tournament.
“I saw (Mikael) Granlund score on it against Russia (in the semifinals of the 2011 World Championships), so I saw that,” said Svechnikov, invoking the other time the lacrosse move has been widely witnessed. “My brother (Red Wings forward Evgeny) actually taught me how to do that move, so it’s great.”
That everyone had seen the move before — and seen Svechnikov endlessly practice it — didn’t impact the stunned reaction on the bench when the puck went off the mask of Rittich (26 saves) and in.
“I think he was pretty shocked too,” defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. “He was smiling and laughing for a few minutes after that.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour — who has embraced Svechnikov’s Rod the Bod-esque work ethic and feeds pucks to the second-year pro nearly every practice in an effort to perfect the move — wasn’t as surprised.
“I’m not shocked because, literally, he does it every time,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s not a fluke. It’s nice to see a kid that puts in some time to do something and he can actually do it in a game.”
Calgary had gotten the lead early when Elias Lindholm — the former Hurricanes first round pick-turned-PNC Arena Public Enemy No. 1 — won a faceoff, shook Jordan Staal and one-timed a pass from Johnny Gaudreau in the slot to make it 1-0 at 13:04 of the first period.
From there, it was a goaltender battle, with Petr Mrazek (28 saves) matching Rittich save for save.
Then, the goal.
“That’s almost what we needed to happen to get a goal,” Brind’Amour said. “It wasn’t going to happen any other way. Their goalie played great tonight. Obviously, ours did too.”
Svechnikov’s second goal was keyed by Nino Niederreiter goading a roughing penalty on Calgary super pest Matthew Tkachuk as the two went back and forth all night with slashes, elbows and hard hits.
“You don’t want to retaliate, we know that, especially with the game being so tight,” Brind’Amour said. “Nino’s a fiery guy, too. He’s actually taken a couple of those over the year. But he held it together tonight, had a good game for us, and that’s obviously a turning point for sure.”
It might have been a turning point, by the turning point will never be forgotten.
“Everyone was just excited, like so happy, and it was emotional,” Svechnikov said. “So that was great.”
Notes: The Flames scored again shortly after their first period goal, but Brind’Amour successfully challenged for offside. … Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of the first game played at PNC Arena — then the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena. On Oct. 29, 1999, the Hurricanes lost to New Jersey 4-2, with Andrei Kovalenko scoring the first goal in the building’s history. … The win was Mrazek’s 14th straight at PNC Arena. … Tkachuk finished with eight shots for Calgary. … Lindholm, who mock clapped at the crown after the Flames won in Raleigh last year, was booed early and often.