Hurricanes rally in final minute to force overtime, beat Sharks on Martin Necas’ goal
There are few slow nights or easy games in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes faced the San Jose Sharks on Friday at PNC Arena — the Canes with 30 wins and 68 points this season, the Sharks with 14 and 38.
This one went to overtime before Martin Necas won it 5-4, and only after the Hurricanes tied the score in the final two minutes of regulation after pulling goalie Antti Raanta for a sixth attacker.
Sebastian Aho scored his second of the game, then Necas tied it 4-4 with 11.5 seconds left in regulation. Necas, who had the overtime winner Wednesday at Dallas, did it again 55 seconds into Friday’s OT.
Aho’s power-play score 17 seconds into the third — the first of two goals for the center — gave the Canes (31-9-8) a 2-1 lead. But Nick Bonino tied the score for the Sharks (14-25-11), Michael Eyssimont gave them the lead and Mario Ferraro made it 4-2 with an empty-net goal with 1:52 left in regulation.
The Canes pulled Raanta for a sixth attacker with two minutes remaining in regulation. Aho’s second of the game, his 20th of the season, pulled Carolina within 4-3 and the Canes kept pushing and found a way to get another past goalie James Reimer.
It was the fourth game of an eight-game road trip for the Sharks, who lost in regulation at Columbus and Boston before an overtime defeat at Detroit on Tuesday.
Aho’s first goal came when he carried the puck into the zone and passed to Stefan Noesen. Aho raced to the net, reaching his stick out to chip the puck past goalie James Reimer on the return pass from Noesen.
Defenseman Calvin de Haan produced the Canes’ first goal in the first period, corralling a rolling puck after a shot by Dylan Coughlan and beating Reimer. Make it another goal from the blue line — Carolina went into the game leading the NHL with 31 goals from its D-men.
The game had a little of a retro feel to it. Reimer was in net for San Jose and forward Steven Lorentz in the Sharks lineup.
The two helped the Hurricanes reach the playoffs in recent years only to move on. Reimer left as a free agent. Lorentz’s departure came on a trade that had a major impact.
Lorentz was part of the offseason deal that brought defenseman Brent Burns to Carolina this season. Always a crowd favorite with his positive demeanor, Lorentz was given a big welcome-back ovation from Canes fans in the first period.
The game also produced another meeting of the Svechnikov brothers — the Canes’ Andrei and Evgeny of the Sharks. Evgeny Svechnikov assisted on the first goal of the game, by Oskar Lindblom, while Andrei Svechnikov has not scored in January and continues to hunt his 20th goal of the season.
The Canes, coming off an overtime win Wednesday in Dallas, had a sleepy first period, spending little time in the offensive zone. De Haan’s goal came on the fifth shot of the period — at 17:33.
The Sharks scored the game’s first goal when Lindblom deflected a Svechnikov shot past Raanta.
After a better second period, the Canes had the strong start to the third and buzzed around Reimer after the Aho goal. But the veteran goalie made some nice saves, allowing the Sharks the chance to regroup.