RALEIGH — The Hurricanes won for the second straight night to start their preseason 2-0-0, beating the visiting Panthers 4-1 on four unanswered third period goals.
Three of the four goals came from NHL regulars: Stefan Noesen, Brady Skjei and Michael Bunting all scored, and Ryan Suzuki got the game-winner at 3:43 of the third period when he picked a corner over the left shoulder of Panthers goalie Spencer Knight.
1. One of the cooler moments you’ll see anywhere in the NHL this preseason happened Wednesday when Skyler Brind’Amour, son of Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, suited up for the Panthers in his first professional game.
The younger Brind’Amour was in the starting lineup and took the opening faceoff on the ice he’s skated on countless times with his dad as he worked toward his dream. He even had a scoring chance on his first shift when an initial shot hit Carolina goalie Antti Raanta in the mask and the rebound kicked in front to him. But Jesperi Kotkaniemi cleaned up the loose puck to deny the storybook start.
Brind’Amour even got to play against the Hurricanes rookie Yaniv Perets, the goalie on the Quinnipiac team that won last season’s NCAA title and who played the second half of the game for Carolina. Hurricanes defenseman Griffin Mendel, who was their teammate in 2021-22, also played in the game.
“A dream come true to play in this building,” Brind’Amour said after the game. “Obviously would’ve liked a better outcome for the fellas, but it was awesome.”
Brind’Amour finished the night with one shot on goal, won 41.7% of his faceoffs and took a minor penalty in 13:22 of ice time.
2. We don’t want to overhype the kid, but Felix Unger Sorum — playing for the second straight night — dazzled again Wednesday.
With Carolina on the power play early in the third period, Unger Sorum zipped a pass cross-ice to Kotkaniemi, who found Noesen on the far side of the net for a blue paint tap-in to tie the game 1-1.
“You don’t want to get too excited, but that was a great play that Felix made,” said Brind’Amour, who also mentioned Perets and defenseman Domenick Fensore as young players who stood out. “And he’s done it a couple of times. There were a few of those passes that he made. He’s got poise and knows where the puck’s gotta go.”
The floodgates opened for the Hurricanes after that. They scored two more times for three goals in 3:09 to seize control, and the 18-year-old was a big part of the spark that ignited Carolina.
3. The three PTO players in the game were a mixed bag. Zach Aston-Reese, Kieffer Bellows and Brandon Perlini were all fine — Perlini picked up an assist on Suzuki’s goal — playing for the second straight night. But the road to a contract with this team is a steep one, and I don’t think any of the three has done enough yet to convince Carolina they warrant a deal.
Number to know
6 — Saves on six shots for Perets in his professional debut.
Michael Bunting — In his first game with the Hurricanes, Bunting probably didn’t expect to be defending a 3-on-1. Not only did he break it up, but he led a 3-on-1 rush the other way, setting up Skjei for a goal that extended Carolina’s lead to — of course — 3-1.
“I don’t even remember,” Bunting said when asked about the last time he defended a 3-on-1. “I looked up and I saw I was the only one back, so I was high-stepping backwards. I was just fortunate to read the play a little bit and get my stick on it and turn it to a goal. That was a nice finish by (Skjei).”
He added an empty-net goal with 1:39 left for a two-point game in his debut.
Brett Pesce — Carolina allowed one goal — and it was an accidental own goal by Pesce. The Hurricanes defenseman attempted to poke check the puck away from Florida’s Gerry Mathew but instead poked it past Raanta for the first goal of the game. As they say, it’s preseason for everyone.
They said it
“It’s just a great moment for him, for all of us really. He’s skated on this ice more than probably anybody just since he was a little kid. Every chance we got, we’d be out there. So it’s special, and we get something to talk about forever. So that’s pretty cool.”
— Rod Brind’Amour on Skyler getting to play for the Panthers in PNC Arena