TAMPA - The Carolina Hurricanes erased a two-goal deficit to earn a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
Plus: Petr Mrazek
One of the chief reasons why the Canes were able to fight their way back and claim a point is because of Mrazek, who turned in 33 saves on 36 shots. In the second period especially, the Lightning logged a hefty amount of offensive zone time, and Mrazek was equal to the task.
"He was on top of his game, there's no doubt about that," Brady Skjei said. "He played a heck of a game, and the reason we got that point tonight was definitely because of him."
Mrazek's best and most timely save came in the second period, when Pat Maroon found himself with time all alone in the slot. Mrazek made a patient glove stop to keep his team within a goal of tying the game.
Video: CAR@TBL: Mrazek makes save on Maroon in the 2nd
"Our goalie bailed us out all game," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We had spurts where we were playing it right, but it wasn't good enough. The fact that we got a point out of that was pretty good, and we had a chance to win."
Minus: Not good enough
The main takeaway from the Canes' postgame comments was that they didn't have their best game. And that can't happen on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champions, a team that is nipping at the Canes' heels in the Central Division standings. It just wasn't good enough for long enough.
"When you're playing the best team in hockey, you can't play the way we did," Brind'Amour said. "We can't play two periods like that and then expect to get anything out of it."
The positive is that even though the Canes didn't have their best, they were never out of the game. They snagged a point and had opportunities to get a second in overtime. Another positive? The Canes get right back at it less than 24 hours from now.
"We didn't play our game," Brind'Amour said. "It's all about the little plays we didn't do tonight, and we spent way too much time in our own end because of it. We need to up the ante a little bit if we want to get to a playoff-level type game."
Plus: Goals from Andrei Svechnikov and Brady Skjei
Don't look now, but Svechnikov has scored a goal in three consecutive games. He got the Canes on the board in the second period with a laser wrist shot from the top of the left circle on the power play.
Video: CAR@TBL: Svechnikov wires home wrist shot for PPG
"I've got my confidence back, and I've got to keep moving forward," Svechnikov said.
"He had a great game tonight," Brind'Amour said. "He's been doing this all year, really. I hope for his sake that he can just relax and play a little bit."
Early in the third period, Skjei stepped up with the puck, fired a shot through Sebastian Aho's screen in front and beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game at two.
Video: CAR@TBL: Skjei buries wrist shot from the high slot
Minus: Martin Necas shaken up twice
Necas was twice shaken up in the third period. Necas first absorbed a high elbow from Erik Cernak in a scrum along the boards but returned a short while later on the team's second power play unit. Then, Alex Killorn caught him with a heavy hit in the neutral zone. Jake Gardiner jumped to the defense of his teammate and dropped the gloves with Killorn in what was Gardiner's first fight since Feb. 2014, according to HockeyFights.com.
"That got our bench going, for sure," Skjei said. "Gards isn't known as a fighter, but you protect your teammates when you have to. Junior got hit pretty hard, and it was a great job by Gards stepping up and fighting."
To turn a minus into a plus: Necas returned to the ice for the balance of the game and appeared fine afterward. That's good news for both him and the team.
2:40: Sebastian Aho and Brett Pesce each logged a 2:40 shift late in the second period, as the Canes got hemmed in their own zone.
4: Cedric Paquette, who was welcomed back to Tampa with a video tribute (this wasn't his first trip back to Tampa, but fans weren't in the building in late February), and Jani Hakanpaa each led the Canes with four hits.
Quote of the Night
"We've got to show them our best game tomorrow. We have better. I know that." - Andrei Svechnikov
Same time, same place on Tuesday.