Justin Williams was once again the shootout hero for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Exactly two weeks after scoring in the eighth round of the shootout to help the Canes defeat the Islanders in his season debut, Williams notched a goal in the third round of the skills competition to push his team past the Pacific Division-leading Canucks.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday afternoon.
1. Bouncing Back
"Terrible" was the assessment of the Hurricanes' performance against Vegas on Friday, coming off an extended layoff.
The Canes knew they had to be better, and better they were two days later against the Canucks.
"That was a pretty solid 60-minute effort. It didn't feel like there were any lulls in there," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I thought we were pretty competitive throughout the whole game."
Video: VAN@CAR: Hurricanes break out pigskin for Storm Surge
As was the case in mid-December, the Canes and Canucks played a tight game that couldn't be settled in regulation. Overtime was scintillating, and Williams once again teamed up with James Reimer to seal the deal in the shootout.
"Good battle," Reimer said. "It was good that we got the win. I think we deserved it. We worked hard for it. Feels good."
A better ending for Justin Williams' season debut could not have been scripted. The veteran forward, jumping back into game action after missing the first three-and-a-half months of the season, scored the game-deciding goal in a shootout that dragged into the eighth round.
Two weeks later, Williams was tabbed as the Canes' third shooter. Why? Easy.
"He's a pretty clutch guy," Brind'Amour smiled.
Williams snapped off a shot that beat Thatcher Demko, and the pressure shifted back down the ice to Reimer to come up with a save on Bo Horvat.
Video: VAN@CAR: Williams, Reimer propel Canucks to SO win
"He's turning into quite a jerk," Reimer joked of Williams. "No, that's awesome. You want a chance to win the game."
Reimer denied Horvat's bid to extend the shootout, sealing the Canes' fourth shootout win in four tries this season.
3. 20 for Svech
In the 52nd game of his sophomore season, Andrei Svechnikov equaled his goal total from his rookie season.
The skilled Russian winger burst through the neutral zone with speed. He shifted over to the far wing and put his shoulder down to scoot past All-Star defenseman Quinn Hughes. He then went backhand-forehand in the blink of an eye to roof his shot over the blocker shoulder of Demko.
Video: VAN@CAR: Svechnikov goes far side for terrific goal
A thing of beauty for Svechnikov's 20th goal of the season, which, at the time, gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 advantage in the third period.
"He's got that ability. That's the unique talent he possesses as a game-changing player," Brind'Amour said. "He basically goes end-to-end. I don't know how many players can do it like that. … The finish, that's special."
Svechnikov is just the second player in team (since relocation) history to reach the 20-goal mark in each of his first two NHL seasons, joining Sebastian Aho and Jeff Skinner.
4. Finding Their Game in the Second
The Hurricanes hit their stride in the second period, especially in the first 10 minutes of the middle frame when they hung two goals on the Canucks while out-shooting them, 11-3.
"We were down a goal after the first, but we battled back," Warren Foegele said. "We stuck together and played tenacious."
Nino Niederreiter was first to get the Canes on the board just 71 seconds into the period when he spun in the slot to score his seventh of the season. It was a big goal for Niederreiter, who was a healthy extra on Friday, and a big goal for the Canes.
Video: VAN@CAR: Niederreiter spins and backhands puck home
"He played a good game tonight. I thought he was solid," Brind'Amour said of Niederreiter. "It was nice to see him get one. We're going to need that."
Just about four minutes later, Sebastian Aho netted his team-leading 26th of the season to put the Canes ahead. Jaccob Slavin's point shot bounced off Warren Foegele in the slot. Aho was there to pick up the puck and rifle it past Demko.
Video: VAN@CAR: Aho buries loose puck to put 'Canes ahead
"The second period we got going," Brind'Amour said. "Even though we didn't get ahead coming out of the period, it just felt like, OK, there's our game. I think the guys felt that too, and we were able to carry it over."
5. A Scare for Pesce
A scary scene in the second period resulted in Brett Pesce racing off the ice while bleeding profusely from his right wrist. Pesce absorbed a point shot, dropped to the ice and tossed his glove off before motioning to the bench, getting to his feet and being helped to the room by Head Athletic Trainer Doug Bennett.
Thankfully, the injury wasn't as gruesome as it initially appeared. Pesce's dad, Brian, tweeted that his son didn't suffer a fracture and was "just getting stitched." As it turned out, the puck "blew up a vein," according to Brind'Amour.
Early in the third period, Pesce returned to the game. He's bionic, right?
"Yes, I think so," Reimer joked.
"The way it looked, it obviously looked terrible so you're fearing the worst," Brind'Amour said. "I'm really thankful he was able to come back."
Just a couple of weeks after losing Dougie Hamilton for an indefinite amount of time, seeing another top defenseman hit the injured list would have been a critical blow to the blue line down the stretch run of the season.
"There was so much blood on the ice, so first off, you hope he's all right. He's a huge part of this team," Foegele said. "Seeing him come back in the third was exciting for us."
The Hurricanes are set to embark on a four-game road trip that will take them through St. Louis, Arizona, Vegas and Dallas.
"Every game is important," Foegele said. "We've got to try to get every point we can get. Fortunate we got two there with a big road trip coming up."