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Recap: Canes Stave Off Predators

Lorentz scores first NHL goal in 4-2 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

NASHVILLE - The Carolina Hurricanes fended off a two-goal push from the Nashville Predators in the third period to come away with a 4-2 win.

Steven Lorentz tallied his first career goal in the NHL, which held up as the game-winner, and Sebastian Aho scored two goals, including an empty netter late to seal it.

HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERYSTATISTICS


Fist Bumps

Steven Lorentz

It's easy to root for a kid like Lorentz.

Just ask his teammates.

"Everyone is happy for the guy. He's a guy who works hard and does everything for the team," Aho said. "He's a great kid. I'm sure he'll play many, many years in this league just because of his attitude and his work mentality. We're really, really happy for the guy."

"Lory is an awesome guy. He's definitely one of the good guys. He's humble and he works hard," Reimer said. "He's always willing to listen and learn, and along with that, he's got a ton of skill."

Lorentz is a success story defined by commitment, perseverance and hard work. A 12th-round pick in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft. Passed over in the NHL Draft his first time through. Selected in the 7th round of the NHL Draft the next year. Grinding it out in the ECHL and then the AHL.

"I just kind of questioned how things would play out, but I don't like looking at things too long term, so I just kept things in perspective. … I really just wanted to stick to it," Lorentz said. "It's so much fun when you can come to the rink every day. And again, putting things in perspective, we get to play hockey every day."

After exceeding expectations at every level, Lorentz finally made his debut in the National Hockey League on Jan. 28.

Then in his 12th game, he netted his first career NHL goal, and his celebration said it all.

Jordan Martinook's centering pass didn't make it through the defense of Ben Harpur, but the puck popped into the air and was batted back into the slot by the high stick of former Hurricane Erik Haula. Lorentz pounced on the loose biscuit and roofed it over Pekka Rinne.

Video: CAR@NSH: Lorentz picks the corner for first NHL goal

Lorentz dropped to a knee, pumped his right fist and then pumped both fists for good measure, a celebration worthy of a goal well-earned.

"I'm so happy it went in," Lorentz smiled. "I don't really know what I did afterwards. The boys were telling me I was pretty excited and celebrated big."

Sebastian Aho

Aho fed Martin Necas for the game-winning goal in overtime on Monday night. The next night, Necas returned the favor.

Skating 4-on-4 in the first period, Necas pressured Roman Josi, forcing a turnover on an attempted backhand clear by the Norris Trophy winner. Necas spun and fired a pass into the slot, putting the puck on Aho's tape for the one-time, top-shelf finish.

Video: CAR@NSH: Aho finishes off the feed from Necas

"He's a great player," Aho said of Necas. "It was a great pass by him."

Aho added an empty-netter late in regulation to seal the win, and he now leads the team in scoring with 20 points (8g, 12a) in 22 games.

Vincent Trocheck

It took the fifth-best power play in the NHL just six seconds to convert on its first opportunity of the game.

Jordan Staal won the faceoff back to Dougie Hamilton, who gathered the puck and walked the blue line toward the center of the ice. Hamilton let go of a wrist shot, and Vincent Trocheck got a stick on the shot to deflect it past Juuse Saros, putting the Canes ahead 2-0 in the first period.

Video: CAR@NSH: Trocheck pots redirection for PPG

The goal was Trocheck's 12th of the season and third in as many games.


Plus/Minus

Plus: James Reimer

Reimer stopped all 21 shots he saw in the first 40 minutes. With the Canes up a three-spot heading into the third period, it was a given that the Predators were going to come with a push - and push they did. Reimer, though, made the saves he needed to make, as he faced 17 shots in the final 20 minutes alone. The Canes held onto their lead, and Reimer finished the night with 36 saves.

"They were on full-court press and coming at us. He made two or three great stops," Brind'Amour said. "Any successful team is going to have goaltending that comes up big when they need it."

And, hey, maybe it was a ploy all along to get Lorentz the game-winning goal.

"That was the game plan going into the third. He got his first one, so that's special, but you want it to be the game-winner," Reimer smiled. "I knew I had to let two in, so that was the plan."

Minus: The third period

The final stanza is the glaring minus in the game, as the Canes nearly lost a lead for the third straight game. But, the pushback was a given, and in the final period of a stretch of three games in four nights and the tail-end of a back-to-back with travel? Shrug off the two goals, take the two points, clean up a couple of mishaps and move on.

"I'm happy. We won. We dominated for two periods. The other team gets paid a lot of money, and they're going to come out and play hard in the third period. I'll take this all day long," Brind'Amour said. "There's absolutely zero to be negative about."

"I think we'd rather win 10-0. You never like to give up a lead in the third," Reimer said. "We bent but didn't break. The character we have in here to dig and dig and dig … it's incredible, and again tonight, we found a way. When it comes down to it, that's the most important thing."


Stats Pack

12: Trocheck leads the team with 12 goals, which also ranks first among all NHL skaters not in the offense-heavy North Division.

11: Lorentz is the 11th player in franchise history to have his first career NHL goal stand as the game winner. According to NHL PR, Andrei Svechnikov was the last to do so (Oct. 7, 2018).

48: "I don't want to say anything," Jordan Martinook smiled at Morgan Geekie last season, "but I have been a part of a few first goals. Just sayin'." Geekie proceeded to score two goals in his NHL debut, as you might recall. Fast forward a year, and who got the primary assist on Lorentz's first NHL goal? Martinook, of course, his fifth helper of the season.


Quote of the Night

"It makes me so happy to know that those guys are all excited for me to. The team camaraderie here is so nice. Everyone is one big family. It's nice to a be a part of, and it's nice to contribute." - Steven Lorentz


Up Next

It's time to head home. The Canes will welcome back fans to PNC Arena on Thursday when they host the Detroit Red Wings.

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