RALEIGH — The Hurricanes rallied from behind, allowing the game’s first two goals before clawing back and winning on a Martin Necas goal with 9.7 seconds left in overtime to beat the visiting Kraken 3-2 Thursday at PNC Arena.
Necas factored in on all three goals, scoring twice — his third and fourth of the season — and getting the primary assist on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s tying goal with 4:24 left in regulation.
It was the 11th three-point game and fifth multigoal game of Necas’ career.
Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen made 23 saves and improved to 3-0-0 on the season.
1. It looked like the Hurricanes were on their way to a fourth straight loss.
And then Brady Skjei happened.
With less than five minutes remaining and Carolina down 2-1, the Hurricanes defenseman made a diving sweep check in the defensive zone, got up and kicked the puck ahead to himself, and then fended off Matty Beniers as he led a rush up ice.
Skjei backhanded a pass, which was deflected but ended up on Necas’ stick. Necas spun and found a trailing Kotkaniemi between the hashmarks, and the center buried his fourth goal of the year past Joey Daccord (42 saves) to tie the game at 15:36 of the third.
“Dead standing still and everyone else has got speed coming from behind,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “And you’re able to get up the ice and make that play. It’s obviously the biggest play in the game.”
Skjei logged 23:10, the third straight game he’s played more than 21 minutes since his usual partner, Brett Pesce, went out with an injury. Skjei has seven points, including six assists — he had just 20 assists in 81 games last season — in his first eight games this year.
2. Mistakes continue to cost the Hurricanes. Carolina had an edge in possession (65% Corsi For) and high-danger chances (8-1) in the first period but still found itself down 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Oliver Bjorkstrand opened the scoring at 11:24 when he cut to the middle on Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns and snapped a shot past Andersen’s glove. Devin Shore then made it 2-0 when he snuck behind Sebastian Aho and knocked a stretch pass out of the air, settled it and scored five-hole on a breakaway at 14:52.
Brind’Amour gave an interview on the television broadcast at around the midway point of the game and expressed displeasure with how his team was playing. After the game, he elaborated a bit.
“It was good and then not good,” he said. “That inconsistent part is was I’m not digging. We’re on it, and then we decided to do something a little different. … It’s just trying to do a little too much at times, and that doesn’t really work. So I thought the third period was a lot more how we want to do things.”
3. The win can’t help but give a boost to a team that’s now 4-4-0 and has been struggling to find its footing.
“To get that good feeling in the locker room after a win, hear that music playing, is big,” Skjei said. “Obviously it wasn’t the road trip we wanted to start the year, and to get back home in front of our fans and get a win and feel comfortable here, it’s a big win, for sure.”
Brind’Amour is hopeful it can propel his team out of its early-season funk.
“We certainly hope,” the coach said. “This could springboard us to just, whether you win or not, that way you’ve got to play to win. So hopefully we can build on that.”
Number to know
8 — Overtime goals since the start of the 2020-21 season for Necas, tied with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the second most in the last three-plus seasons. Only Alex DeBrincat, with nine, has more. Sebastian Aho has the most regular season overtime winners in franchise history with nine.
Martin Necas — Necas was in the middle of everything that was good for the Hurricanes on Thursday. He got Carolina back within a goal in the first period by finishing a beautiful pass from Michael Bunting, set up the Kotkaniemi goal that tied it, and he again pulled off his overtime magic by burying a Tony DeAngelo pass with under 10 seconds left to avoid a shootout.
“That’s his time for sure,” Brind’Amour said of Necas in overtime. “He loves that. You try to get him out there every time you can because he’s got that ability.”
Brent Burns — Burns was victimized by a nice move by Bjorkstrand on the opening goal, and he had a few more turnovers that led to chances going the other way. It was maybe a case of perhaps trying to do a bit too much after the first goal, but he did have a solid possession night otherwise and led all players with 12 shot attempts.
They said it
“That’s just how we’ve got to play. No giving them much and then create a lot in the O zone, and that’s Carolina Hurricanes, baby.”
— Martin Necas