Canes Snag 5th Straight Win, Beating Panthers 4-2

Cary, NC — The three previous meetings against the Florida Panthers all went into overtime or a shootout so everyone knew this would be a tight game.

Florida, led by coach Joel Quenneville, according to the “expert analysts,” weren’t supposed to be this good but somehow the Quenny effect wasn’t factored in. Everyone knew the Canes were going to be good, but those “experts” also didn’t take into effect the Coach Rod Brind’Amour or VP/GM Don Waddell factors.

Both teams have 4 solid forward lines with the Canes having the thin edge of more balanced scoring whereas the top 2 lines of Cats have a majority of their scoring. Never trailing the game, the Canes played a full 60 minutes of 200’ hockey en route to a 4-2 team win.

Trocheck Gets 13th Of The Season

The former Panther, Vincent Trocheck is on fire, scoring against them in all 4 matchups with them this season.

Sebastian Aho was selected as the first star of the game as he had a goal and an assist but in reality just about any Cane could have been chosen any of the top 3 stars of the game.

The first period of the game was extremely well played with very tight checking that made it difficult for anyone to get more than 3 passes off while shots on net were probably the lowest combined total, at 4 for the Canes and 5 for the Cats, that either team has seen in a long time. The teams combined for 19 hits during the period, with Cedric Paquette dishing out a hit for almost every shift he had on ice.

Despite the low number of shots, it was an entertaining period and even when the shots got through, both the Canes’ netminder James Reimer and Cats’ Chris Driedger were solid. The refs were keeping the game honest as they were quick with the whistle throughout the game on teams that typically are amongst the least penalized teams.

At 15:47 Mason Marchment got his first of two consecutive penalties, putting the Canes on the man advantage. Jordan Staal won the faceoff, out muscling the puck back to Dougie Hamilton on the left point. On the set play, Hamilton skates with the puck to the top center, looks right and left for best options, choose left over to Andrei Svechnikov.

Svech has time and space, takes a stride, does a mild head fake for a shot all the defense knew was coming but instead passed low to Vincent Trocheck camped on the corner of the crease. Troch grabbed the passed puck and in one smooth motion made a power move, turning to the goal and flinging the puck to the far side to make it 1-0 with just 8 seconds gone in the powerplay.

Marchment didn’t win any points with Quenneville as less than 2 minutes later he got called for hooking Fishy. This powerplay was more disorganized than organized and was cut short with Tro getting a hooking call to even up the sides. 

Niederreiter Snipes His 11th

Getting a new sheet of ice is always an advantage for a powerplay unit as the choppiness of the ice late in a period is gone and allows for faster, cleaner passes. Early in the second, the Canes scored on a play just like the coaches drew up.

After an attack by the Cats in the Canes’ end, Haydn Fleury grabbed the puck along the far corner, passing behind the goal to Brett Pesce. Pesch put the puck on his forehand, passing up to Martin Necas along the half boards. Necas carried the puck through the neutral zone, gaining speed with each stride.

He crossed over the Cats blue line, dishing Nino Niederreiter a lead pass who sent a hard wrister past Driedger that Driedger certainly wanted back. The Canes’ penalty kill has been very good and despite the new ice and powerful man-advantage team of the Panthers, successfully killed the penalty.

So here it is the 24th game of the season and Mr. Quiet-but-dies-it-all, Jaccob Slavin gets his first penalty of the season. At 5:39 of the second, with pressure from the Cats deep in the Canes’ end, Slavo had the puck on edge and flipped the puck up high but this time a little too high to hit the glass for a delay of game penalty.

Slavo is a huge part of the PK but even without him, the Canes PK units were perfect for the day going 5 for 5.

Just over midway in the period, the Cats started to claw their way back into the game. After Noel Acciari won a faceoff back to the left point, MacKenzie Weegar sent a slap shot into traffic. Reims went into the butterfly but just a nanosecond late as the puck hit his left pad just before trickling into the net to get the Cats within one goal.

For the second period in a row, the Canes got a penalty in the last minute, this time by Svech with a holding call against Alexsander Barkov.

Aho Nets Short-Handed Goal Thanks to Slavo

Again starting the period with a new sheet of ice, the man advantage and a golden opportunity to make it a whole new game were the Cats.

Both teams knew that and both teams had to do whatever they could to keep their advantage going their way. What few saw coming was a heads-up play by Slavin who stood alone at his own goal line with the puck, with everyone expecting a full 200’ clear.

Instead, Slavo saw Jordan Martinook just over the red line in front of the Cats bench, made the 110’ pass right in his tape catching the Cats napping. Marty crossed the blue line with the puck, picked up speed, saw Fishy racing down the left slot with just one defender between him and Fishy, and sent a sweet saucer pass that Fishy banged home for the Canes second shortie of the season.

Just 3 minutes later, the Cats crossed the Canes’ blue line along the near boards, rimming the puck behind the net up to the far half boards. Brock McGinn won the battle along the boards, skooching the puck to the red line that Warren Foegele picked up then made a beeline to the net.

With Alex Wennberg draped all over Foegs back that actually drew a penalty, Foegs sidestepped the attempted hook putting the puck 5-hole to get back to the 3 goal lead. Maybe in an attempt to erase all his errors earlier in the match, Marchment potted a goal that was beautifully set up by the Cats’ two best players, Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau.

The goal caught the Canes flat-footed, leaving Marchment all alone with an open net to close out the scoring. Not sure if this is going to be an every-game event, the Storm Surge again, in a classy move, paid respects in honoring a medical front-line worker.

Story by Bob Fennel. Photos courtesy of the Canes public Facebook page and Panthers public Facebook page. See more Canes coverage on CaryCitizen.

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