Svechnikov’s dominant performance not enough for Hurricanes in loss at Minnesota

The 21-year-old winger scored both of Carolina's goals in a 3-2 loss, reaching the 20-goal mark for the third time in his career

Wild forwards Frederick Gaudreau and Kevin Fiala celebrate Gaudreau's goal in their 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Saturday in Minnesota. (Jim Mone / AP Photo)

Most would call just one win in four games a disappointing road trip.

But as Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour is fond of saying, it’s about the process. So despite a 3-2 loss in a thrilling game in Minnesota to finish the road trip 1-2-1, the coach found a silver lining.

“The easy thing to do is say we lost three or four and that’s bad,” Brind’Amour said, “but that’s not how I’m looking at it. … Obviously the outcome is not acceptable, but there’s a lot of good that went on here.”

The good came mostly in the game’s final 15 minutes.

The Wild had staked themselves to a 3-0 lead by the 2:34 mark of the third, following up Kevin Fiala’s goal just past the game’s midway point in the second period with two goals in 78 seconds early in the final frame.

That’s when Andrei Svechnikov, as he’s done many nights since the calendar flipped to 2022, took over.

Svechnikov gave Carolina life with a quick wrist shot from the middle of the ice at the top of the circles that rattled in off the left post at 5:02.

When Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello was called for tripping Martin Necas 33 seconds later, Svechnikov went over the boards with the first power play unit and struck again.

After Svechnikov won a battle to keep the puck in the Minnesota zone, the Hurricanes wheeled the puck around until it got to Teuvo Teravainen on the half boards. Teravainen zipped a 60-foot pass cross-ice to the far faceoff circle, and Svechnikov one-timed it short side past Cam Talbot (37 saves) for his 20th goal of the season at 6:23.

“When he’s playing like that, it just makes our team that much better and that much deeper throughout the four lines,” Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who assisted on both goals, said of Svechnikov.

Svechnikov also had the best chances to tie the game with Frederik Andersen (24 saves) on the bench for an extra attacker. The first chance, a missile from the slot, went wide. The second came off a rebound, with Svechnikov pushing the puck just past the post.

“It’s always tough to not score those ones when it’s in the lane,” Svechnikov said.

The loss sent the Hurricanes back to Raleigh with just three of eight points. They did, however, earn an admirer.

“It is as good a team as we’ve seen,” Wild coach Dean Evanson said after the game. “They do everything well. Their depth is great, their sticks are great, they play fast, they compete, they’re heavy. It’s a real good hockey club.”

Carolina will be off Sunday before practicing Monday and Tuesday ahead of a visit from the Florida Panthers — now the Eastern Conference’s top team after the Hurricanes’ loss — on Wednesday.

Despite the lack of points on the trip, the Hurricanes don’t seem concerned.

“We keep playing like that and just do it for 60 minutes, I’m not too worried,” DeAngelo said.

Notes: DeAngelo reached 30 assists on the season, becoming just the 10th defenseman since the team’s relocation to Raleigh to reach the mark. He did it 39 games and, with 36 games left, is on pace for 58 assists. Joni Pitkanen’s 40 assists in 2009-10 are the most with the Hurricanes, and Hall of Famer Mark Howe’s 56 with the Whalers in 1979-80 is the franchise record by a defenseman. … Necas, Jesper Fast and Seth Jarvis all saw their goal droughts extended to nine games. … Jesperi Kotkaniemi exited the league’s COVID protocol and played 10:53.