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Recap: Canes Rally Again to Top Lightning in OT

Slavin delivers third straight win with overtime goal

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Just call them the Cardiac Canes.

Three games. Three comebacks. Three wins. The Carolina Hurricanes negated a third-period deficit to force extra hockey for the third straight game and defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime by a score of 4-3.

A power-play goal in each of the second and third periods nullified Tampa Bay's two-goal advantage, and Jaccob Slavin netted the game-winning goal in overtime.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday evening's match in Raleigh.

1. Another One

I wrote after Saturday night's overtime victory in Washington that it seemed the 2019-20 Canes have a flair for the dramatic.

I am pleased to report that, less than 24 hours later, that statement remains valid.

The Canes scored three unanswered goals and climbed out of another two-goal hole to down the defending Presidents' Trophy winners in the second half of a back-to-back.

"Our team doesn't quit," said Dougie Hamilton, who earned first-star honors with the game-tying goal and an assist. "We just keep going."

The Canes are now 3-0-0, their record unblemished even when trailing after two periods in all three of those games. As a comparison, the team was just 3-20-3 last season when trailing after two. The Canes are the 13th team in NHL history to come from behind to win each of their first three games in a season.

"I think it just shows that the guys believe in each other already, which is great, and I think they understand how to play to be successful. Our game, they trust it," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Still some things to shore up, but I like the effort. You can't fault that. It's been right there from the get-go."

2. Slavin Rips Home the Game-Winner

Jordan Staal is a big, strong man, a fact Nikita Kucherov learned the hard way in overtime. Staal bullied the reigning scoring champ along the far wall to take control of the puck and skate it down the ice on a two-on-one with Jaccob Slavin.

"I've got to play against him all the time during practice," Slavin laughed. "He man-handled that and made a great pass."

Sure enough. Once across the blue line, Slavin opened up for the pass, which Staal put right on the defenseman's tape. From there, it was bombs away.

Video: TBL@CAR: Slavin rips one-timer for OT winner

"Honestly, I just tried to hit the net," Slavin said. "I let it rip as hard as I could. I don't think it was that hard, but I'll take it."

Another overtime win, another surge. Slavin, the latest overtime hero, led the clap at center ice with his teammates circled around him. They then fanned out and leapt into the boards, another nod to a classic.

Video: Storm Surge after Tampa

3. The Comeback, Part III

Coming into this season, it had been 11 months since Erik Haula last played a regular-season hockey game.

He's clearly making up for lost time.

With the Canes trailing by two in the second period, Haula notched a timely power-play goal, his third marker in as many games and second on the man advantage. Haula is the sixth player in franchise history to score in each of the team's first three games of the season and the first to do so in his first year with the team.

Video: TBL@CAR: Haula puts home rebound for PPG

On a power play in the third period, the same unit struck again. This time it was Hamilton with a one-timer blast from the point and Haula providing the screen in front of former Canes netminder Curtis McElhinney.

Video: TBL@CAR: Hamilton buries one-timer for equalizer

"That might be the difference in the whole game right now. We're getting a special teams goal here and there, and that gets you back in the game," Brind'Amour said. "At the right time, special teams can be huge."

"We've got a resilient group in here. We've got to learn how to not put ourselves in those holes," Slavin said. "It's definitely a confidence builder for the group. Hopefully we can continue on that path."

4. That First Period

Both the Hurricanes and Lightning were playing their second game in as many nights after each being in different cities the night prior, and both teams scored on their first shots of the game.

Brock McGinn rang a shot off the goal post just over a minute into the game and seconds later, Brett Pesce sent a shot toward the net that bounced off a Tampa Bay defender in front and beat McElhinney.

Video: TBL@CAR: Pesce scores off defender's skate

A little more than a minute later, Tyler Johnson took advantage of a failed zone clear and tied the game at one. The Lightning would add a pair of goals later in the period - Kevin Shattenkirk on the power play and Steven Stamkos late - to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission.

"In the first period, we had too many turnovers. That's their game, feeding off those," Slavin said.

"It was a pretty complete game. We had a couple gaffes, and that team kills you when you do that, almost like clockwork," Brind'Amour said. "I just give the guys credit. They dug in and dug themselves out of it."

5. Neutralizing the Opposition

After Stamkos' goal, the Hurricanes limited the Lightning, a team that possesses one of the league's most potent offensive attacks, to just two shots on goal in the remaining 44:09 of game time - fewer shots on goal than the Canes had in 1:53 of overtime alone (3).

It was a remarkable team defensive effort, especially since the two shots were separated by just two seconds, and it figured to only be a matter of time before the Canes tied the game with that sort of puck dominance.

"You can't do much better than that," Brind'Amour said. "It was a great effort. That was our third in four days, and it didn't look like it."

Up Next

The Hurricanes will face off with another old Southeast Division opponent, the Florida Panthers, in Sunrise on Tuesday.

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