Andersen carries Hurricanes to shootout win in Ottawa

Andrei Svechnikov was the only one to score in the shootout in Carolina's 3-2 win

Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stops Senators forward Brady Tkachuk to clinch Carolina's 3-2 shootout win Thursday in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press via AP)

It had been a long time since the Carolina Hurricanes went to a shootout to decide a game. It had been even longer for Frederik Andersen — and longer still since he won one.

The Hurricanes and their goalie looked just fine in their first shootout of the season. Andersen stopped all three shooters he faced and Andrei Svechnikov had the lone goal to give Carolina a 3-2 win Thursday in Ottawa.

“Obviously the difference-maker, in my opinion, was Fred, and he’s been big for us all year,” Hurricanes forward Derek Stepan said.

Andersen was participating in his first shootout since March 5, 2020, a loss with the Maple Leafs that was his fourth straight in the post-overtime competition. His last win in the shootout? A mere 817 games ago on Nov. 2, 2019, an 11-round shootout in which Andersen stopped 10 shooters and finally ended when Toronto’s Andreas Johansson scored on Brian Elliott.

Andersen only needed to stop three on Thursday, and first denied Tyler Ennis and then Tim Stutzle to keep Carolina in it as he had all game.

After Vincent Trocheck was stopped on the Hurricanes’ first attempt, Svechnikov used something he learned from his teammate’s try to beat Matt Murray.

“At first I thought I was going to go five-hole,” Svechnikov said, “but (I saw Trocheck) was going five-hole and (Murray) was sitting really low. I tried to go low blocker and it was a good shot.”

The focus then shifted back to Andersen, who stopped Senators captain Brady Tkachuk to give Carolina the win.

“I try not to think too much,” Andersen said of his mindset in the shootout. “It’s important to keep the reaction and my instincts. My movement gets slower if I start thinking too much, and that’s when guys are too skilled, they can make you look really silly.”

The game nearly didn’t get to overtime.

Trailing by a goal late in the third period, the Hurricanes got the equalizer with 3:22 remaining when Nino Niederreiter found a loose puck under Murray and swept it in the net for his 13th goal of the year to force OT.

It was just the boost Carolina needed on a night with no fans in the stands and the Canadian Tire Center ice resembling more of a backyard rink than an NHL sheet.

“It’s tough playing the game when it feels like it’s practice,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of competing in the empty building.

That meant generating your own energy and dirty goals would be the order of the day, and that’s exactly what happened.

With the game tied at 1-1 entering the third, the Senators took their first lead of the night when Alex Formenton redirected a Victor Mete shot in the high slot that skimmed over Andersen.

Pucks had found the back of the net in similar ways in the second period.

After neither team scored in the opening 20 minutes, the Hurricanes and Senators traded goals in the middle frame.

Carolina got on the board first when Brady Skjei’s point shot was redirected by Stepan and past Murray (27 saves) at 2:31 of the middle frame.

The Senators got the goal back two minutes later when Nick Paul’s seemingly harmless shot was deflected by Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo and fluttered past Andersen (37 saves) to tie the game.

But bouncing pucks were all the Senators could get by Andersen. Even a rare penalty to Jaccob Slavin in overtime came up empty for Ottawa, with Andersen making two stops to send the game to the shootout.

“(Andersen) allowed us to hang in there,” Brind’Amour said. “They got two really fluky goals. So nothing got by him tonight, in my opinion.”

Notes: Svechnikov’s five-game point streak, which saw him score multiple points in all five games, ended. … Ethan Bear, playing after being a healthy scratch the last five games, logged 11:54 with two shots on goal and was minus-1. … Trocheck, who assisted on Niederreiter’s goal, has points in four straight. … Slavin now has eight penalty minutes on the season and 68 for his career. … With his assist, Skjei has nine points in 10 games in January so far. He had nine points total in the first three months of the season.