RALEIGH — A return to the “Cardiac Canes” moniker would seem to be fitting if the Hurricanes’ collective heart rate ever showed any sign of spiking during the team’s latest unbelievable win.
Even though Carolina exited the second period in a seemingly insurmountable hole, there was no panic in the locker room — just business as usual.
“Nothing too crazy,” forward Teuvo Teravainen said of the team’s reaction during the second intermission to having a three-goal deficit. “It’s just whenever we start playing our game we should be right back in the game. That’s what happened.”
The Hurricanes shook off perhaps their worst period of the season, erasing the Kings’ lead before Sebastian Aho completed the comeback with an overtime power play goal in a 5-4 win in front of 18,443 Tuesday at PNC Arena.
“That could easily have been like, ‘Listen, we’ve had a good run, we’ve done pretty well, we’re down 4-1 to a great team, we’ve got a game tomorrow,’” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Nope. Nope. They gave what they had, and I appreciate that about the group.”
The Hurricanes looked dead in the water after mistakes and six seconds of a surgical Los Angeles power play allowed the Kings to score four second period goals and race out a 4-1 lead.
But Carolina, as they have done too many times to count this season, came up for air early in the third and never went back under.
With reshuffled forward lines, the Hurricanes started to chip away at the Kings’ lead early in the third.
Paul Stastny scored for the second time in as many games, beating Blake Lizotte to a rebound off a Derek Stepan shot for his fifth goal of the season to cut the lead to 4-2 at 3:27 of the third.
“We get just a simple shot to the net, drive the net, and all of a sudden we get a little life and the game kind of turned,” Brind’Amour said.
Then captain Jordan Staal, stationed in front of Los Angeles goalie Pheonix Copley (25 saves), redirected in a Brett Pesce shot that was headed wide just before the midway point of the period.
“I felt like Jordo’s line got us going a little bit, and the rest of us just kind of followed,” Aho said.
The Kings, who capitalized on a Brady Skjei turnover and a misplayed dump-in for two of their four second period goals, then made a mistake of their own.
L.A.’s Quinton Byfield flipped the puck over the glass from the defensive zone, giving Carolina its first power play of the night with under eight minutes remaining in regulation.
It took just 21 seconds for the Hurricanes to score, with Skjei setting up Teravainen for a one-timer that went wide, and then going back to him again for a shot that found its mark for his fifth goal of the season and a tie game at 12:31.
It marked the third straight game Carolina has scored on the power play, just the second time this season that has happened.
“It’s all about confidence, just working hard out there,” Teravainen said of the power play’s recent success. “We didn’t have any power plants today, but then we got one chance. So we had to be ready for that. We had a couple of good looks and — big goal.”
The game reached overtime, and the Hurricanes continued to dominate. Aho had two Grade-A scoring chances come up short but Carolina maintained pressure.
Andrei Svechnikov — already with an assist on Brent Burns’ goal in the first period but mired in a 14-game goal drought — found yet another way to contribute without scoring.
Svechnikov got the puck from Teravainen and angled like he was going to enter the zone along the boards but quickly bounced to the middle, forcing Kings defenseman Drew Doughty to trip him and give Carolina its second power play of the night.
“I saw the space in the middle and I tried to go there,” Svechnikov said.
That set the stage for the Hurricanes’ power play. After an initial clear by the Kings following the ensuing faceoff, Carolina set up in the L.A. zone with a 4-on-3 advantage.
After two Martin Necas one-timers didn’t connect, the Hurricanes maintained possession in the offensive zone. Necas then passed left to Burns, and as the Kings tried to get in the shooting lane it instead opened a path to Aho. Burns one-touched the puck through the seam, and Aho buried the one-timer to complete the comeback.
The winning goal extended Aho’s goal streak to five games, and he’s scored eight during that span. Carolina was 2 for 2 on the power play and is now 4 of 8 in its past three games. The Hurricanes are now 15 of 60 (25%) in the last 17 games and up to 22nd in the league at 19.7% for the year.
“Without our power play, we were losing this game, right?” Aho said. “Every night special teams are huge, and tonight it got us a win.”
It extended Carolina’s winning streak to six games and the team’s point streak to nine, and the Hurricanes will have one more game — Wednesday’s in Buffalo — before a nine-day stretch without one.
“These guys need a break,” said Brind’Amour, who will join Svechnikov at this weekend’s All-Star Weekend in Sunrise, Florida. “You see how hard they play all year. Tonight they threw it out there at the end.”
And they did it without an ounce of panic.
Notes: Staal was 16 of 22 on faceoffs (73%), including winning all three he took in overtime. … Burns, who had a goal and an assist, has points in six straight. … Frederik Andersen made 17 saves to improve to 6-0-0 since returning from injury earlier in January. … Jaccob Slavin missed his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. … In the second period, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists, Adrian Kempe scored twice and Doughty had two assists.