The Carolina Hurricanes had a home game Thursday.
Repeat: a home game.
After keeping their suitcases packed and handy most of the first 28 games of the season, the Canes finally are back at PNC Arena to play some games.
The Hurricanes (17-6-6) parlayed some strong early play into a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken as goalie Pyotr Kochetkov won for the sixth time in his past seven games.
When the Canes’ 5-0-1 road trip ended Tuesday with a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings, coach Rod Brind’Amour issued a warning.
“What we can’t do is say, ‘OK, we’re going home and it’ll be easy,’” he said. “Sometimes, that’s the tendency. We’ve got to take care of business.”
Andrei Svechnikov and Derek Stepan scored in the first period Thursday, and Stefan Noesen converted a penalty shot at 2:08 of the second. The Canes, seemingly taking care of business, had a 3-0 lead and the Kraken were struggling to get shots on net.
But the Kraken’s Ryan Donato scored on a tip in the second period. Daniel Sprong in the third., making it a 3-2 game and the Canes had to make plays in the final five minutes to seal the win.
Takeaways from the game:
▪ It took a tip-in to end Kochetkov’s scoreless streak. After shutouts against the Islanders and Red Wings and a scoreless first period Thursday, Kochetkov had Donato’s deflection get past home at 11:26 of the second, ending his streak at 151:26.Kochetkov did give up a soft goal to Daniel Sprong in the third on a shot from the right circle.
▪ The first period had to be among the Canes’ best this season. There was a lot of tape-to-tape passing, sharp breakouts, good offensive chances and constant pressure on Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer. And two goals.
Svechnikov scored his 16th of the season after a turnover in the Kraken zone. Stepan picked up his first on a rush into the zone, Jack Drury with the perfect setup pass.
▪ Milestone goal for Stepan, by the way. The veteran forward now has scored against all 32 NHL teams.
▪ Former Canes Tuomo Ruutu once said his strategy on shootout shots was to pick a spot and rip it. Not a lot of thinking.. Just let it rip. Noesen appeared to do just that on his penalty shot early in the second period.
▪ Svechnikov had a pretty neat goal-scoring celly. He first cupped his right hand to his ear — a “let’s hear it” move — and then fired a first into the air.
▪ Strong game by the Canes’ fourth line. Stepan, Noesen and Drury put together some some very solid shifts. Their shift seven minutes into the third was textbook stuff.
▪ It’s hard keeping Jordan Martinook off the ice. He left the game in the third but returned with cotton swabs stuffed up his nostrils and soon was back on the ice.
▪ Another vintage Jaccob Slavin defensive game. All over the ice making the plays for the Canes.