Noesen Uses His Head to Help the Canes Find the Game-Winner in a Battle in Minnesota

A fortunate bounce in the third period decided the game as Kochetkov stopped 28 shots, and the captain recorded two points in a 3-2 win.

Feb 27, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Stefan Noesen (23) scores a
Feb 27, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Stefan Noesen (23) scores a / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The road trip got off to a rough start on Sunday after the Carolina Hurricanes allowed a late goal and lost to the Sabres 3-2 in a shootout. The next stop of their three-game journey took them to Minnesota for their second battle with the Wild. Minnesota came into Raleigh over a month ago and handed the Canes a loss behind three goals from Kirill Kaprizov.

Jalen Chatfield returned to the lineup for the Hurricanes after missing four games with an upper-body injury. He took Tony DeAngelo's spot as the defensive pairs returned to normal. Pyotr Kochetkov was in the net for the team after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Stars on Saturday despite a strong performance. Filip Gustavsson was in the crease for the Wild. He stopped 40 shots in Minnesota's win over the Canes in January.

It's hard not to like Carolina's start. For the first seven minutes, they were all over Filip Gustavsson, who was equally strong in his own right. He made a stop on a Brady Skjei one-timer that looked destined to find the back of the net. All of that changed when Teuvo Teravainen took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. While the Wild didn't score on the power play, they beat Pyotr Kochetkov shortly after it finished. Connor Dewar separated from Brett Pesce before spinning and firing the puck into the net from the slot.

The Hurricanes started to regain some of their momentum, eventually finding the tying goal. Jaccob Slavin's shot from the point hit Jordan Martinook in his backside, but Jordan Staal was there to jump on the rebound, backhanding it over Filip Gustavsson's shoulder to tie it up late in the period. Slavin's assist was his 258th point, tying him with Justin Faulk for the most by a defenseman in franchise history. Minnesota would get it back in the final minute of the period. Jonas Brodin's shot from the point eluded various sticks and bodies before floating past Pyotr Kochetkov to put Minnesota back in front.

The second period was a little sloppier for the Canes, allowing Minnesota to get to their game. Pyotr Kochetkov was ready for the challenges, settling into the game after a tough first period. He got some help from the guys in front of him, especially Jalen Chatfield, on a beautiful chance for Marcus Johansson. After each side came up empty on the power play, the Canes got a last-minute goal of their own. Andrei Svechnikov's shot was going wide, but it caught the inside of Filip Gustavsson's right pad to sneak into the net to tie the game. After Minnesota did the same to end the first period, it felt like the Canes were starting to get the bounces as they went into the third period tied.

The Canes dodged a major bullet early in the third period. After Jesperi Kotkaniemi was called for high-sticking, Kirill Kaprizov's shot from the point was redirected off the post by Ryan Hartman, nearly giving Minnesota the lead. Right after that, Pyotr Kochetkov committed larceny on Marco Rossi, getting over to deny his offering from the side of the net to help the Canes finish the kill. A few minutes later, the Canes would get their second chance on the power play.

The first unit threw everything they could at Filip Gustavsson, but the Minnesota netminder continued to turn them away. The second unit didn't have much time to work with, but they eventually struck gold. Technically, the goal came two seconds after the penalty ended, but it might as well count as a power-play goal. Jack Drury's initial chance hit the blocker of Gustavsson, but the puck caught Stefan Noesen in the face before popping over the line to give the Canes their first lead of the night. Teuvo Teravainen, who earned the secondary assist on the goal, recorded his 400th point as a Hurricane, adding to the milestone night for the team.

As we've seen many times this season with the Hurricanes ahead late, the team's defense smothered the Wild. Minnesota couldn't get Filip Gustavsson off the ice until there were about 75 seconds left, and by then, it was too late. Add incredible defensive efforts from Jack Drury and Seth Jarvis to clear pucks, and the Canes were able to escape Minnesota with a 3-2 win to snap their small losing streak.

It wasn't pretty, but it was two points. The bounces seemed to go the Hurricanes' way in the final 40 minutes. Between their two lucky goals and a fortunate post, I doubt there will be many complaints about this performance. Pyotr Kochetkov wasn't at fault for either Minnesota goal, and he was strong in the second and third periods, stopping all 23 shots he saw and finishing with 28 for the game.

The key to winning this game was making sure that Minnesota's top line didn't take over like they did in Raleigh. Kirill Kaprizov presented many challenges, but Pyotr Kochetkov was prepared for them. Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, and Joel Eriksson Ek combined for 14 of Minnesota's 30 shots, yet none of them found the scoresheet.

Meanwhile, Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist. Seth Jarvis was fantastic on both ends of the ice, recording an assist and playing sound defense all night. Andrei Svechnikov got back in the goal column. Jalen Chatfield looked like he hadn't missed a step in his return. Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin posed threats on both ends. It was a total team effort to come up with a win.

The road trip will conclude on Thursday when the Hurricanes storm into Columbus for the first time this season. They met in Raleigh in late November when Andrei Svechnikov capped a third-period comeback with his first goal of the season in a 3-2 win. Their first game off the road will be on Saturday against Winnipeg before they get a long break between games.