RALEIGH — Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said before Tuesday’s game that the Vegas Golden Knights were “very similar to what we’re trying to do.”
It turns out the coach was right seeing how Vegas had a very Carolina-esque third period rally to force overtime.
But Brind’Amour and his team got the last laugh.
Andrei Svechnikov won a puck battle along the boards and set Sebastian Aho up for his second goal of the game and the OT winner in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 win Tuesday in front of 15,228 at PNC Arena.
“He won his battle there and he wanted that puck, which is the thing he does really well,” Aho said of Svechnikov on the winning sequence. “He is strong and fast and just made a nice play.
“Great pass to me and, yeah, I had to bury that one.”
The win didn’t come without its drama, whether it was the Golden Knights’ two goals in the final seven minutes of regulation to tie the game or Frederik Andersen making two dazzling overtime saves to earn his 21st win of the season.
“Huge,” Aho said of Andersen’s performance. “In the OT and all night and actually the whole year he’s been great for us. He just keeps us in the game every night, and that’s pretty much all you can ask from a goalie.”
Carolina twice staked itself to a two-goal lead after a first period with no scoring.
The Hurricanes finally got one past Laurent Brossoit (26 saves) when Nino Niederreiter — reunited on a line with Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast that was so effective earlier in the season — scored from just outside the crease at 4:44 of the second period.
“He’s been good this year,” Brind’Amour said of Niederreiter, who now has 12 goals on the season. “It’s been steady and that’s been real important.”
Svechnikov got his first assist of the night less than a minute later, threading a pass through Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore that Vincent Trocheck finished for his 10th goal of the season at 5:41.
Svechnikov now has two points in five straight games. His 36 points in 36 games are the most of any player in the NHL under the age of 22.
The Golden Knights got one back late in the middle frame when a Brendan Smith turnover and a collision with Andersen allowed Nolan Patrick to halve the lead. The Hurricanes unsuccessfully challenged the goal but killed off the ensuing penalty — one of three Vegas power plays Carolina survived.
The Hurricanes’ power play then struck, with Aho redirecting a Tony DeAngelo point shot just six seconds into a third period man advantage to again go ahead by two goals, 3-1 with under 12 minutes left in regulation.
But the Golden Knights rallied. First, a Theodore shot pinballed off Svechnikov and then Brett Howden to get past Andersen (26 saves) at 13:08 of the third.
Then defenseman Nic Hague, a shift after he stopped Seth Jarvis on a power move to the Vegas net, beat Andersen’s glove with a shot to tie the game at 17:30.
“Obviously they got a couple of late ones, but I liked that we got right back on in overtime,” Brind’Amour said.
That they did, and Aho’s 19th goal of the season was his seventh career overtime tally, passing Jeff O’Neill for the most in franchise history.
“I mean, a win is a win,” Aho said of recovering from the blown lead. “We’ll take those two points.”
Notes: Patrick, whose career has been derailed by injuries, had two points for his first multipoint game since March 15, 2019, when he was still playing for Philadelphia, the team that drafted him second overall in 2017. … The last time Jaccob Slavin was minus-2 in a Hurricanes win was Feb. 27. 2021, at Florida. It last happened at home on Jan. 5, 2020. … Carolina improved to 28-9-2 on the season and trails only Colorado (.762) in point percentage (.744). The Hurricanes have 58 points and trail both the Rangers (60) and Penguins (59) in the Metropolitan Division but have four and three games on hand on the two teams, respectively.