The Carolina Hurricanes toppled the Tampa Bay Lightning last night at the PNC Arena by a margin of 4-3 courtesy of Martin Necas, who had a hand in every goal scored last night. The Canes are now hold the #2 spot in both the Discover Central Division and the NHL; they remain 1 point behind the Bolts with a game in hand.
Last night’s matchup was the “playoff-est” regular season game I think we’ve seen the Canes play so far this season. The Canes started off on the completely wrong foot by letting the Bolts go up 2-0 early on.
Not to be counted out, the Carolina Hurricanes would battle back in a huge way.
We already know the Canes would score 4 goals and hang onto the lead to win, but what I want to highlight about this game is Martin Necas.
Necas has, seemingly overnight, blossomed into a bona fide NHL superstar. The 12th overall draft pick from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has always had the potential to be, but just hadn’t quite taken that next step from solid Top 6 forward to legitimate NHL superstar. I don’t think that can be said anymore; Necas full-on sprinted into superstardom last night.
2 goals, 2 assists. 4 points in a game against the best team in the Division and in the NHL. Every single goal the Carolina Hurricanes scored were either scored by Necas, or had his fingerprints all over it.
To break down Necas’ individual stats and impact from last night, he had 23:16 of ice time, 10 shot attempts, and 2 shots hit the post, alongside his 2 goals (one of which was the game winning goal) and 2 assists.
All in all, last night’s game was, indeed, a litmus test for both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The results of that test show that the Canes can both hang with and dunk on any team in this league in equal measure. Last night’s game could easily be one of those you look back on as a pivotal, strategic win to gain traction in the standings and against a team they’ll, in all likelihood, have to surpass again at some point on the road to the Stanley Cup.