Kochetkov Shuts Out Devils On Whalers Night
Aho wins it with the 11th overtime goal of his career
Pyotr The Great...
It took 63:40 to find the first and only goal of the contest, largely because Kochetkov and Vitek Vanecek were strong between the pipes.
Some of Kochetkov's best work came in the first period when he was tasked with being shorthanded twice. Including a point-blank stop on Nico Hischier, it set the tone for the evening as a whole.
The second period was his busiest frame of the evening in terms of volume, having to turn away 13 shots. Shot totals remained close all evening, and it wasn't as if New Jersey was completely pulling away, but Kochetkov's work was still crucial to keep the game scoreless.
As the game progressed to the third, the 24-year-old once again did his part, sending the Canes to their 11th overtime of the season.
In the extra session, he had to turn away a pair of bids from Tyler Toffoli, before his team was finally able to find the back of the net.
After the final horn sounded, it was the second shutout of the season for Kochetkov and the sixth of his young NHL career.
"He was sharp. Countless saves at big times. He was the difference, for sure," Rod Brind'Amour said post-game. "We're just in the beginning stages of what we're going to see out of him."
Perfect Penalty Kill...
They say your goaltender needs to be your best penalty killer and Kochetkov was also that this evening.
Carolina gave New Jersey four power play opportunities throughout the course of the night, all with the ability to claim the lead and alter the game. Instead, Tim Gleason's units battened down the hatches each time, pushing the game forward without a goal.
"The kill was the key," Brind'Amour said post-game. "It's a real potent power play over there and we were able to at least not give up one."
The Canes remain leading the NHL on the PK since December 1, killing off 91% of infractions.
After the scoreboard had reflected 0-0 for so long, it felt like the two sides were destined for the shootout to decide a winner.
However, with just 1:20 to go in overtime, Sebastian Aho had other plans.
Martin Necas, who rightfully attracts a lot of attention in overtime, dipped by a Devils defender and put a good-looking shot onto Vanecek. The rebound hopped off of New Jersey's netminder and up into the air.
In came #20, whacking it before it could touch the ground and sending the crowd home to the tune of Brass Bonanza.
"It was a good play by Neci to cut through the middle and get a shot off," Aho described. "I just followed it up and the rebound came right to me. Although it was mid-air, it was in the wheelhouse, and I tapped it in."
The Canes are scheduled to be off on Sunday and practice Monday before heading to Dallas, Arizona, and Las Vegas for a three-game trip.