1. An Emotional Win
The Hurricanes needed that one, and it was an emotional two points, at that.
"We needed this one to get us some momentum going again," Jake Gardiner said. "It was a good team effort. It started with Raz. He was really good and strong between the pipes. It was a good win for us."
It's not often that a cross-conference match-up gets too fiery - after all, these teams see each other just twice in a season - but that's what happens when emotions boil over like they did in the second period. More on that in just a bit, but credit Mrazek and the Canes for reigning in their composure and scooping up the extra point in the shootout.
Video: SJS@CAR: Canes do the conga in newest Storm Surge
"That was pretty stressful coaching it, I can tell you that. I'm sure fans enjoyed it. At least they went home happy," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It was a good game, overall. Obviously, two points is what we're all after, so we'll take it."
2. Things Get Feisty
Let's address this now, since it served as the backdrop for the final 30-plus minutes and underscored the emotions of the victory for the Canes.
Tensions boiled over in the second period in sequence that only grew more heated. Petr Mrazek had covered the puck - and it was well covered - and Joe Thornton came in with a late poke check. Mrazek used his stick to take a hefty swipe at Thornton, but no contact was made. Then, as Mrazek approached Thornton behind the net, the Sharks' grizzled veteran jabbed Mrazek in the mask, dropping him to the ice.
"I think that's a cheap shot by him," Mrazek said, also noting that it wasn't the first time he's been punched. "I've been in worse than those. It's not bad."
Video: Mrazek: "It's important to score early"
A fracas ensued and penalties were doled out, including a slashing minor for Mrazek, perhaps a first for him since he didn't make contact?
"I don't think so. Maybe. Who knows?" Mrazek said, and then paused. "Did I get a penalty for that? Oh, wow. I didn't even know."
The Canes couldn't convert on their ensuing power play, and the chippiness? Well, it continued later in the period, with Thornton, regularly parked at the top of the crease, exchanging barbs, both physical and verbal, with Mrazek. The two teams then came together at the end of the second period before being separated.
Not much spilled of the physicality spilled over into the third period - there were two points on the line in a 2-2 game, after all - but the emotional undertones remained.
"You feel like you're in the game, and you want to make the saves for the guys and get the win," Mrazek said.
3. Shining in the Shootout
So, that's what Petr Mrazek did. After Logan Couture netted a game-tying goal late in the second period, one that could have been a momentum-swinger, Mrazek was perfect the rest of the way.
He finished the night with 28 saves in 65 minutes of regulation and overtime hockey and then posted a clean sheet in the shootout. Kevin Lebanc's shot hit the goal post before Mrazek blockered away Erik Karlsson's try and then shut the door on Logan Couture.
Mrazek dropped to a knee to pump his fist in celebration.
"I like shootouts. It's fun. The fans enjoy it. For the goalies, I think it's fun, as well," Mrazek said. "I like the battle."
"He's competitive," Brind'Amour said. "He does not want to let that thing in."
Andrei Svechnikov, the Canes' third shooter, went forehand-backhand-forehand for the game-deciding goal in the shootout.
Video: SJS@CAR: Svechnikov scores off iron for shootout win
"You could tell he had a game going," Brind'Amour said. "We had to give him a chance."
4. Svech is Ready
Andrei Svechnikov did indeed have a game going, and he got the Hurricanes going just 50 seconds into the game.
An aggressive forecheck by Warren Foegele poked the puck free from Brent Burns below the goal line, and Foegele spotted Svechnikov cutting into the slot with room to skate and shoot. The Russian forward roofed a backhander to give the Canes the early 1-0 lead.
Video: SJS@CAR: Foegele, Svechnikov connect for early goal
"A good start is always key, and it definitely propelled us in the game," Gardiner said.
With a secondary assist also on his ledger, Svechnikov now boasts a team-leading 31 points (12g, 19a) through 29 games.
"I think he's just getting better and better and getting more confident with his playmaking abilities. He's tough to handle," Brind'Amour said. "It's his willingness to try to get better. That's why he's going to be a great player."
5. Gardiner Finds Twine
Just like the Hurricanes needed that victory, Jake Gardiner needed that goal.
The defenseman had not scored since the second game of the season, which was the overtime-winning goal in Washington, and had been fighting it a bit as of late.
"It's been tough," he admitted.
Perhaps scoring a goal, his first with the Canes at PNC Arena, will give him some confidence. It sure seemed to bring a wave of relief over him, as Foegele dished back the puck on a give-and-go and Gardiner rifled it into the net before leaping into the boards.
Video: SJS@CAR: Gardiner finishes slick give-and-go for goal
"The guys have his back, and they've supported him. We keep putting him out there, and that's all you can do," Brind'Amour said. "I think a goal like that will hopefully let him relax a little bit because I know he's trying. We've all been there. I've been there. It's tough sometimes when you get in a rut to just get out of it. Hopefully this will springboard him."
The Hurricanes host the Minnesota Wild on Star Wars Night on Saturday.