The Offense Breaks it Open in the Third as the Hurricanes Hit the Jackpot in Vegas

Jarvis' short-handed tally 19 seconds into the third period proves to be the difference as Martin stops 29 shots to earn his second win with the team.

Feb 17, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Spencer Martin (41) celebrates
Feb 17, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Spencer Martin (41) celebrates / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The final stop of the Carolina Hurricanes' road trip brought them to Sin City for a battle with the defending champions. Coming off a one-sided victory in Arizona on Friday night, the Canes were looking for the same magic that earned them a 6-3 win in Raleigh when the Golden Knights visited in December. Vegas hadn't played since Monday, meaning they were plenty rested to battle the Canes.

The Hurricanes rolled the same lines from Friday night's victory. The only difference was in the net, as Spencer Martin made his second start with the Canes. His lone start came before the All-Star Break when he helped the team steal a 3-2 victory in Boston during the Mom's Trip. Vegas countered with Conn Smythe winner Adin Hill, who entered the night with the best save percentage and GAA in the league.

It was crystal clear which team was rested when the puck dropped. Vegas swarmed the zone from the jump, providing the Canes little room to operate in the neutral zone. Spencer Martin was sharp, denying a few chances at the top of the crease early. The Golden Knights' pressure eventually got them on the board first. It could be argued they got away with a hold, but Vegas brought the puck down the ice in transition, and while Martin did his best to fight them off, Jonathan Marchessault found some daylight under his pads to put home the third chance. Vegas kept pouring it on for the rest of the period, but the Canes escaped in a 1-0 hole.

When the teams came out to start the second period, the Canes seemed to have more of a pep in their step. It took Andrei Svechnikov 81 seconds to draw things back even. Seth Jarvis made a sneaky drop pass to Svechnikov as he powered into the zone. With Alex Pietrangelo bearing down on him, Svechnikov pushed a backhander over the blocker of Adin Hill. Throughout the rest of the period, things started to get a little chippy between the two powerhouses. While it rarely led to anything, it provided a solid playoff-like atmosphere to the game.

In the dying seconds of the second period, Andrei Svechnikov was given a high-sticking penalty on Alex Pietrangelo, sending the penalty kill on the ice for the second time in the game. Upon further inspection, Vegas goalie Adin Hill took out Svechnikov's leg, causing him to flail and hit Pietrangelo. While the Caniacs were incensed at the call, it did set the stage for what was to come after the intermission.

After Vegas was unable to keep a bouncing puck in the zone, Seth Jarvis found himself on a short-handed breakaway. Vegas' defenders got back to try and thwart the chance, but Jarvis got just enough on the shot to get it through Adin Hill to put the Canes ahead 19 seconds into the frame. After successfully killing the penalty, they extended the lead. Exactly six minutes later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi's initial shot was denied, but Stefan Noesen was there to knock the puck down and tap it home. In no time, the Canes were in complete control.

From there, the defense took over. Vegas' chances to draw closer were few and far between. When they did get an opportunity, Spencer Martin was there to turn them away. Vegas was trying to get Adin Hill to the bench with about three minutes left, but the Canes refused to allow the puck to leave their offensive zone. When Hill did make it to the bench, the Golden Knights didn't generate any good chances. The clock wound down as the Canes closed the trip with a 3-1 win to take four of a possible six points.

The legend of Spencer Martin continues to grow after claiming him off waivers before the All-Star Break. He made his team debut in a huge game in Boston and was incredible. Then, after over three weeks between starts, Martin stepped up and stoned the defending champs in their barn. He was the only reason the game wasn't worse than 1-0 after the first period. The rest of the team looked disjointed, but Martin was ready to go.

Eventually, the rest of the team showed up to get the job done. In a place that embraces larger-than-life personalities, Seth Jarvis looked right at home. He made the two biggest plays of the night, setting up Andrei Svechnikov and scoring short-handed for the eventual game-winner. Speaking of Svechnikov, it was nice to see him back on the scoresheet after a quiet three games since his return. Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei also had significantly better games after being unplayable in Dallas. This could also be a potentially big moment for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who got on the board with an assist after 12 scoreless games. He also had a breakaway chance in the first period that Adin Hill denied.

This was an excellent conclusion to a road trip that could've easily gone off the rails after losing in Dallas. They recovered in Arizona with a 5-1 win, but playing Vegas in the second half of a back-to-back on the road was less than ideal. The first period didn't look great, but this group's resolve to get the job done and finish the right way starts at the top with the coaching staff.

With the road trip finished, the Canes will be back at PNC Arena for their next three games. First on the schedule is the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, led by rookie sensation Connor Bedard. It looked unlikely that we'd see Bedard after he broke his jaw, but he has returned, setting the stage for his first visit to Raleigh. The Canes will also host the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars during this upcoming homestand.