After a thrilling win over the Kraken on Thursday night, the Hurricanes allowed us to take a breather by dominating the San Jose Sharks for 60 minutes. Playing the second half of a back-to-back, the Canes looked as good as they’ve looked all season. It was an effort dominated in every facet of the game. Plus, we saw a hatty from Teuvo Teravainen
The big news pregame was the announcement that Andrei Svechnikov would be suiting up for the first time since tearing his ACL on March 11 against Vegas. An All-Star a year ago, Svechnikov started the night on the fourth line with Jack Drury and Stefan Noesen. In the net, Antti Raanta would get the start after Frederik Andersen earned the win on Thursday.
The power play got the scoring started early. After Antti Raanta made a huge save on a one-timer and the Sharks took a penalty in the offensive zone, Teuvo Teravainen broke the ice after an excellent pass from Seth Jarvis. There were no Sharks defenders below the dots, allowing Jarvis and Teravainen to work freely. The little chip over the pads of a sprawling Kaapo Kahkonen continued the momentum from the night before.
Andrei Svechnikov was given a rude return from the officials midway through the first period. After laying a beautiful and clean hit on Givani Smith, Svechnikov would be escorted to the box for interference. I’m not sure where the call came from, but Smith had just released the puck, so it clearly wasn’t interference. Regardless, the kill stepped up and did its job. A few minutes later, Teuvo Teravainen struck again. A great pass from Dmitry Orlov was hammered over the glove of Kaapo Kahkonen, doubling the lead for the Hurricanes, where it would stand after 20 minutes.
Despite being winless, the Sharks did an excellent job of sticking around and not allowing the Canes to put the game out of reach. Neither team found the back of the net in the second period, though the iron did get a workout on both ends. Mike Hoffman threw a shot off the crossbar early in the period. Jack Drury tried to power a backhander through, but he caught the left post behind Kaapo Kahkonen. Both goalies stood on their heads to ensure the 2-0 score remained in place.
The game-changing play of the night was the goal that never happened. With Antti Raanta unable to cleanly handle a shot from the point, Nico Sturm was left alone with an open net. While the puck was at a tough angle, there was plenty of room for him to bury it. Instead, he threw it off the far post, and the puck stayed out. The game should’ve been 2-1, but it stayed 2-0.
About 45 seconds later, Seth Jarvis picked up his second primary assist of the night, helping Teuvo Teravainen complete the hat trick. He made a beautiful move to bait Kaapo Kahkonen before elevating it beautifully for his third career hat trick. San Jose never got close after that. The Hurricanes dominated down the stretch, preserving the shutout for Antti Raanta and sweeping the season series with San Jose with a 3-0 win.
All eyes were on Andrei Svechnikov all night. He was all over the lineup, playing with almost all the forwards. He played 13:40, finished with four shots on the net, and laid three hits. He looked like he hadn’t missed a beat after seven and a half months on the shelf. He played a strong game, coming close to showing up on the scoresheet a few times.
It was also a historic night for Sebastian Aho, something we continue to say often for the young star. With his two-assist night, Aho passed Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour for fourth on the franchise’s all-time points leaderboard. He has 474 points in his career and needs 70 more to tie former Hurricanes captain Kevin Dineen for third.
In both wins in their return home, the Hurricanes have played their best hockey of the season. The biggest improvement has been in the net. This was Antti Raanta’s best performance after some tough games during the road trip. It was mentioned during the broadcast that he’d switched back to his old pads. I deduce the switch paid off in a big way. Pair that with an excellent performance by Frederik Andersen against Seattle, and I’d say the Hurricanes might be turning the corner.
The atmosphere inside PNC Arena was amazing, but the team is about to hit the road again. Next week, the Hurricanes will play the first division games of the season. After taking the weekend off, the team will be back in action against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night in the City of Brotherly Love. Then, they’ll take the fun to New York for games on Thursday and Saturday against the Rangers and Islanders, respectively.