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Recap: Canes Capture Thrilling Shootout Victory in Vegas

Canes score four goals in third period, Williams nets game-deciding shootout goal

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

LAS VEGAS - The Carolina Hurricanes scored four goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit, and Justin Williams netted the game-deciding tally in the shootout to lift the team to a thrilling 6-5 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Five different players tallied for the Canes, who also netted two power-play goals in their third period surge en route to improving to a perfect 5-0 in the shootout this season.

Here are five takeaways from Sin City.

1. Bet on Red

That was fun.

"Oh, what a game," Sebastian Aho said.

Well, maybe not for goaltenders.

"Or coaches," Aho smiled. "I liked it."

And why would he not? In dramatic fashion, the Hurricanes scored a come-from-behind victory against one of the Western Conference's best teams, all after sputtering early in the game and again having to climb out of a multi-goal hole.

"Pretty crazy game," Erik Haula said. "Feels good right now."

The recent starts are somewhat concerning - after all, this is the fifth straight game in which the Canes have failed to score first - but the fact that the team is seemingly comfortable being uncomfortable is encouraging.

"First period, that's a good home crowd, good home team. They have a step on everyone, every team here," Aho said. "After we shook that off, we came back and started to go to work. We trusted each other."

"We've got to get the better start, obviously. We've got to figure that one out," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We've always kept coming back. That's a positive feeling for the group."

In some ways, the script was similar in Raleigh just over a week ago. The Canes were down by two goals in the third period. They worked their way back into it and tied the game. Same story in Vegas, only this time, they were able to snag not just a point, but two in the shootout.

And, there were 200 Season Ticket Members plus more Canes fans in enemy territory to celebrate.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: 200 #Canes Season Ticket Members made the trip to Vegas. This has been a fun annual tradition for the team. Awesome to see so much red in the stands.(📸: @Sara__Daniel)

"It was a crazy game, but we never stopped believing. We just went to work," Aho said. "You could feel the bench when we got one goal. OK, now we can get another one. That feeling, it's a great feeling to have."

2. That Third Period

Where to even begin with the final 20 minutes of regulation?

"It was a crazy Vegas show third period," Williams said. That seems like a fair place to being. "Up, back, the other way. Happy we came out with the win."

After a shoulder shrug of a first 40 minutes, the Hurricanes seemed to have a renewed energy and a confident swagger in the third period.

"We were a different team," Haula said. "We played well, played how we wanted to play."

"We got outplayed in the first, outplayed a little bit in the second," Williams said. "Maybe it was human nature, but they let off the pedal just a bit, and we were able to just get some momentum and get some goals."

Aho helped shave the deficit to a goal 79 seconds into the third period and were then set up with a four-minute power play and a golden opportunity to tie the game. Instead, not even a minute after Aho tallied, Chandler Stephenson raced down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway and restored Vegas' two-goal advantage.

That could have been a dagger.

But, the Canes answered back with three straight goals, including two on the power play, in just under 10 minutes.

Haula got the first power play goal, 1:59 after Stephenson's shorthanded marker.

"Little sparks can get your team going," Haula said.

Then, Haydn Fleury netted lucky number three of the season (and his career), a wrist shot from the point that had eyes and eluded Marc-Andre Fleury. The Canes were successful in challenging the no-goal ruling on the ice, as it seemed the officials mistook Fleury using his glove hand to peer around Warren Foegele as goaltender interference. In the end, the right call was made.

Video: CAR@VGK: Fleury scores on wrist shot from point

Three minutes and 10 seconds later, Martin Necas potted the go-ahead goal on another power play, the Canes converting at 50 percent on the man advantage. Jake Gardiner's point shot was bodied down in the slot, but the puck bounced right to Necas at the left circle, and he lasered his wrist shot to the back of the twine.

Video: CAR@VGK: Necas nets go-ahead goal on power play

Because the third period was what it was, Cody Eakin tied the game at five with just under four minutes left in regulation.

3. Mr. Shootout

Exactly two weeks after being the eighth-round shootout hero in his season debut, Justin Williams again scored the game-deciding shootout goal five rounds earlier.

"He's a pretty clutch guy," Brind'Amour smiled.

Brind'Amour dialed up Mr. Game 7 Mr. Shootout again in the third round in Vegas, and he delivered.

"He's been lights out," Brind'Amour said.

A head fake. Forehand. Backhand. Forehand. Goal, glove-side high on Fleury.

Video: CAR@VGK: Svechnikov, Williams score in shootout

Three shootout winners in three weeks for Williams, this after not having a shootout goal since Nov. 2013 and not having a shootout winner since Nov. 2011.

"If you look at my career, I'm not very good at them, to be honest," Williams laughed. "Right now, they're going in."

"He's a clutch player," Aho said. "I don't know what to say."

Andrei Svechnikov also scored in the shootout for the Canes, while James Reimer saw two Vegas shots sail high at the other end of the ice.

4. Haula Back (in Vegas)

Erik Haula received a hearty welcome back to Vegas with a video tribute, a standing ovation and a chant of his name during a break in the first period.

"The reception from the fans, a big thank you to the Golden Knights for making me feel welcome," he said. "This will always hold such a special place in my heart. It was emotional. A big thank you to everyone here."

And then, he scored a goal against his former team in the third period, and the crowd's reception was much less enthusiastic.

"I'm sure they were love boos," Haula quipped.

On the tail end of a four-minute power play, Jake Gardiner hit Haula in stride with a stretch pass. Haula skated in alone and beat Fleury five-hole on a backhand. That power-play marker brought the Canes back within a goal, a spark that ignited a string of three straight as they claimed a lead in the third period, albeit briefly.

Video: CAR@VGK: Haula goes five-hole on Fleury for PPG

"That kind of got us back on our feet," Brind'Amour said. "For the rest of the game, I thought we were actually the better team. It was certainly exciting."

5. 30 for 20

Sebastian Aho netted his 30th goal of the season on a delayed penalty sequence early in the third period, as he tapped in a loose puck on the near side of the net off a shot from countryman Teuvo Teravainen, who scored the Canes' first goal of the game in the last minute of the first period.

Video: CAR@VGK: Aho puts home loose puck for 30th goal

Aho's goal extended his point streak to six games (6g, 4a) and his goal streak to four games.

Of Aho's 30 goals, which matches his career-high total from 2018-19, 17 have been scored on the road.

The 22-year-old now has 40 in his sights.

"This win feels so good," Aho said. "I'm happy if I can help the team win. Winning is the main thing this time of year."

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The Hurricanes finish off this four-game road trip in Dallas on Tuesday night.

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