RALEIGH — It’s probably time to stop doubting the Carolina Hurricanes.
Injuries, deficits, questionable calls — Carolina has dealt with it all this season, and adversity was again waiting for the team Sunday on Whalers Night at PNC Arena.
The result — a 4-3 shootout loss to the Bruins — may not have been exactly what the Hurricanes wanted to accomplish, but they again proved they’re never out of a game, regardless of the score or opponent.
“It’s the one thing I’m most proud of the group,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Just whatever way it’s going — it’s not going right or we get a bad call or something — they keep playing.”
Despite trailing by two goals entering the third period, the Hurricanes again did just that.
Victimized both by officiating and one of the NHL’s best goal scorers, Carolina scored twice in the first four minutes of a dominant third period to knot the score and force overtime.
Defenseman Brady Skjei added to his career season with his 16th goal of the year 97 seconds into the third from what’s become a familiar spot for him, the left circle.
“I’ve scored a few goals from that spot,” he said. “Just trying to get my shot on net, and this year they’ve been going in.”
Just over two minutes later, forward Jordan Martinook zipped a pass through the crease to Sebastian Aho, who banged in his 33rd goal of the year to tie the game 3-3 at 3:44 of the period.
“We understand he’s got to step up,” Brind’Amour said of Aho’s recent play in the absence of the injured Andrei Svechnikov. “He’s our best player. It’s not all on him, but you can see we need it. He’s been solid as ever.”
Also solid was goalie Frederik Andersen, whose two big saves — he had 30 in all — in succession with just over five minutes left in regulation on Tyler Bertuzzi and David Krejci helped force overtime.
“We know throughout the course of the game he’s going to come with a lot of big saves, and he certainly did tonight,” said Jack Drury, who scored his second goal of the season in the first period.
The Bruins played without Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Hampus Lindholm, but they still had David Pastrnak.
The Bruins got on the board first when he flew the zone and got loose for a breakaway. He lost control of the puck as Carolina defenseman Brent Burns pressured from behind, but Andersen was fooled and the puck slid past him for a 1-0 lead at 4:43 of the game.
The goal was Pastrnak’s 50th of the season, making him the first Bruins player to reach the mark since Cam Neely did in 1993-94.
Carolina knotted the score when Drury redirected a Jalen Chatfield pass past Jeremy Swayman (32 saves) at 7:44 of the middle frame, but adversity struck the Hurricanes again when a whistle went against them.
Carolina forward Teuvo Teravainen jabbed Charlie McAvoy after the Bruins defenseman shoved him away from the play. McAvoy acted as if he had been hit with a high stick, drawing the call.
Pastrnak took advantage, scoring his second of the night on a one-timer at 9:12 to put Boston back ahead.
“Let’s just be honest about it: It’s not a penalty,” Brind’Amour said. “The frustrating part is — yeah, you gotta kill it. I get it. But, pretty good player. He’s gonna get his opportunity. And it’s just hard when you feel like you just tossed them a goal. But you have to kill it. I get it.”
Just over 2½ minutes later — and with momentum, Brind’Amour said, squarely in Boston’s favor — the Bruins extended the lead to two when Jakub Lauko skated up the right wing and beat Andersen with a wrist shot at 11:46 to make it 3-1.
It felt like a death blow by the NHL’s top team, but Skjei said the Hurricanes were confident during the second intermission.
“We knew if we get to our game, we’ll put some pressure on them,” he said. “And then to get two goals there fairly quick was big.”
Neither team scored in overtime, and goals by Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk in the shootout gave the Bruins the extra point. In the three-game season series between the NHL’s top two teams, each picked up four points — Carolina had the lone regulation win, while Boston added Sunday’s shootout win to an earlier overtime victory.
“It’s two really good hockey teams,” Drury said. “And I think in the third period we kind of saw how we need to play.”
Notes: For Whalers Night, the team honored former radio broadcaster Chuck Kaiton and former equipment manager Skip Cunningham before the game. Both relocated to North Carolina when the franchise moved from Hartford. … Seth Jarvis matched a season high with six shots on goal but has not scored in 15 games. … Drury also had six shots on goal, a career high.