Kotkaniemi lifts Hurricanes past Canadiens 4-3 in SO
MONTREAL (AP) — Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout, and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Brent Burns and Teuvo Teraivainen also scored in the tiebreaker for the Hurricanes, and Rem Pitlick and Nick Suzuki tallied for the Canadiens.
Pitlick and Burns scored in the first round, and Suzuki gave the Canadiens the lead in the second round. However, Teravainen tied it with a backhander on the Hurricanes’ third attempt to extend it. The next five skaters were denied before Kotkaniemi won it against his former team amid a chorus of boos from Bell Centre fans.
“Not bad,” he said with a grin when asked how the goal felt. “I’ll try to be as respectful as I can, you know, but it’s special to get that one here.”
The 22-year-old, who left the Canadiens to join the Hurricanes after agreeing to a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet in 2021, said he’s gotten used to the boos from fans in Montreal.
“I’ve seen it a lot worse than that, but it was kind of fun to be honest,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We know that history here, and I get it. KK’s a good kid and I was just happy for him to be able to do that because I know he’s taking a lot of heat. Unnecessary, but that’s just how it works.”
Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei and Jesper Fast had goals in regulation, and Brett Pesce had two assists for the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes, who won their third straight and eighth in the last 10.
Antti Raanta started and gave up two goals on 10 shots in the first period before leaving with an apparent injury. Frederik Andersen started the second and finished with 13 saves.
Carolina moved four points ahead of second-place New Jersey in the division. The Devils lost 4-3 to Toronto earlier Tuesday night.
Michael Pezzetta and Alex Belzile each had a goal and an assist, Mike Hoffman also scored and Chris Tierney had two assists for the Canadiens, who lost their fourth straight (0-3-1). Jake Allen finished with 36 saves.
“It was an exciting game, I didn’t even play and I’m tired,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “It shows where we are as a group. We’re able to play with anyone.”
The Hurricanes outshot the Canadiens 4-1 in the scoreless overtime.
“It’s not an easy team to play to begin with,” Allen said. “But the situation we’re in after coming off almost two weeks on the road. To come back from a West Coast trip, the first game is always really difficult. ... I was really impressed and proud of that group by the way they battled against a hell of a hockey team in a tough circumstance.”
Fast tied it 3-3 for the Hurricanes with 3:38 left in regulation as he cut across the front of the net and turned and knocked in the rebound of Pesce's shot past Allen for his eighth goal of the season.
Pezzetta gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead when he deflected Tierney's centering pass past Andersen at 2:49 of the second with his fifth.
Skjei had tied the score 1 minute into the period when he got a cross-ice pass through traffic from Brett Pesce and beat Allen from the left side for his 12th.
Belzile gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when he got the rebound of Pezzetta's shot from the right point in front and put a backhander past Raanta for his third.
Hoffman made it 2-0 with 3:44 left in the opening period. Jonathan Drouin brought the puck up the left side, cut toward the front of the net and dropped a pass back for Hoffman, who quickly put it into the open side of the net for his 10th.
Slavin got the Hurricanes on the scoreboard just 15 seconds later as he fired a shot from the left circle past Allen for his fifth.
Hurricanes: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night to open a two-game homestand.
Canadiens: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night in the second of a four-game homestand.
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The Associated Press