It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but sometimes that’s how you’ve got to get it done.
The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night, securing two points thanks to three straight saves from Frederik Andersen in the shootout and a heady make from Andrei Svechnikov.
The Canes certainly weren’t their sharpest against the Senators, seeing a 1-0 lead slip to a 2-1 deficit before Nino Niederreiter forced overtime late in the third period. Carolina lost the Corsi % battle, something that rarely ever happens, and didn’t quite have their regular touch on what looked to be a very, very poor sheet of ice.
But still, the Canes got two points. And that’s what matters, of course.
An intelligent, well-executed shootout goal from Andrei Svechnikov
Thanks to Andersen’s calm collectedness in net (more on that in a bit), the Canes needed just one shooter to hit the back of the net in the shootout.
After Vincent Trocheck got stopped on the first one, trying to go to Matt Murray’s five-hole, Svechnikov wristed one past Ottawa’s netminder to help set up the win.
Svech was smoooooooth with it pic.twitter.com/qaigVUrR3I
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 28, 2022
For Svechnikov, it was more than just going and doing what he knows he can score with. He saw how Murray defended Trocheck’s opening attempt, and adjusted his plan. He also of course kept his cool, something he’s pretty damn good at.
“I was very calm,” Svechnikov said. “I was very calm and confident. When you feel a little bit shaky, then obviously you’re not going to score. So I was very confident and calm, and I knew what I was doing. At first I thought I was going to go five-hole, but once [Vincent Trocheck] went five-hole and he was sitting very low, I tried to go low blocker, and it was a good try.”
Shootouts, while still somewhat of a crapshoot regardless, do tend to favor the teams that have the high-skill, heady skaters. A guy like Svechnikov has the skill set to succeed, and so far he has.
With his make Thursday night, Svechnikov is now 6 for 10 in his NHL career in shootout attempts.
The Canes wouldn’t have won the shootout, or have been there at all, without the best efforts of Andersen Thursday night.
Carolina’s All-Star netminder was on his game, stopping 21 of 23 shots faced while turning 3.61 expected goals against into just two actual goals against. Both goals he allowed were of the high-danger variety, and he also made seven high-danger saves.
Andersen kept the Canes in the game when they were struggling Thursday, something that he’s done really well all season long.
“You’re going to need that over the course of a season,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “Your team plays against a team that’s on it — and you’ve got to give the other team credit. They were good tonight — but he allowed us to hang in there. They got two flukey goals really, so nothing got by him tonight in my opinion.”
He came up big down the stretch in regulation, and he also came up big in the shootout where Ottawa didn’t get anything.
Freddie slammed the door when we needed it most pic.twitter.com/9NkI0qPgqB
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 28, 2022
He’s been spectacular for the Canes, and Thursday he got to show off something that Carolina fans haven’t gotten to see from him yet: a shootout performance.
“I try not to think too much,” Andersen said. “I think it’s important to keep the reaction and my instincts. My movements get slower if I start thinking too much. Guys are too skilled. They can make you look pretty silly. If you’re expecting one thing, they can easily do something else. I just try to match their speed and do my best. I just have fun with it and try to react to what they’re trying to do.”
- Ottawa’s first goal was a weird one, but one that Tony DeAngelo certainly could have avoided. It reminded me a lot of the pitcher in baseball who instinctively kicks his leg out at a comebacker, taking away what would have been an easy play for one of his middle infielders. DeAngelo did exactly that, making what would have been a straightforward save for Andersen a goal. It’s a weird play, and it’s one you don’t see often. A lot of it for DeAngelo was certainly reactionary, but also either commit fully or get out of the way there.
- The line of Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast continues to do good things. The line had the most TOI of any line Thursday, had the most Corsi for and the best expected goals % of any forward line. Of course it paid off late with the Niederreiter goal, too. That line has been really good at doing what they do lately.
- Speaking of Niederreiter’s goal, Thursday was a good case study in the importance of getting to the net. Both Niederreiter’s and Derek Stepan’s goals came from Carolina getting traffic and danger in front of Murray. Sometimes, especially when the ice is bad and things aren’t particularly sharp, it’s as simple as that.
- Martin Necas is built for 3-on-3 overtime. For the second game in a row he absolutely DAZZLED with the puck in all that open ice. Yes, he maybe needs to take a shot, but his ability to move with the puck so effortlessly is honestly mesmerizing.