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Hurricanes defeat Wild, but Max Pacioretty's injury a cause for concern

January 20, 2023, 5:51 PM ET [9 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The Carolina Hurricanes took down the Minnesota Wild at home last night, coming away with a 5-2 win.

Max Pacioretty and Jordan Staal both returned to Carolina’s lineup, while Derek Stepan was scratched and Dylan Coghlan also sat out, as the Hurricanes went back to using 12 forwards and six defensemen.

Carolina came out really strong, getting a lot of opportunities on an early power play, before Martin Necas was robbed on a huge glove save from Marc-Andre Fleury. Things really slowed down from there though and while the Hurricanes did outshoot Minnesota by quite a margin (despite giving up a breakaway to Matthew Boldy), perhaps the key story was Carolina couldn’t convert on any of their three power plays in the frame.

Then in the second period, the Wild opened the scoring on the first power play of their own, as Kirill Kaprizov buried a rebound at the side of the net. It kind of just once again highlighted the special teams issue for Carolina.

However, the Hurricanes managed to get on the board shortly after, as Brent Burns beat Fleury (who had lost his stick), tying the game. Then only a few minutes after that the Hurricanes had their fourth power play of the game and this time they capitalized, with Brady Skjei putting a shot through traffic to score, as Carolina pulled ahead for the first time in the game. The special teams battle continued to make the difference, as late in the frame, the Hurricanes came down on a shorthanded rush and Teuvo Teravainen beat Fleury with a well-placed shot, extending the lead.

Jalen Chatfield then made it a 4-1 game only two minutes into the third period, beating Fleury through a screen for his fifth goal in the last 13 games, and despite a coach’s challenge, the goal stood. Carolina kept rolling afterwards and on yet another power play, Seth Jarvis found Martin Necas with a great pass, and Necas scored before Fleury could get over. Matthew Boldy did get one back for Minnesota and the Hurricanes got into some penalty trouble afterwards, notably having to kill off a major penalty to Andrei Svechnikov. However, they managed to escape without giving up a goal and came away with a 5-2 win.

However, maybe the biggest story coming out of the game was Max Pacioretty getting hurt again. He went down in the final minute and ended up having to be helped off the ice, putting no weight on his right foot as he left.

Obviously, it didn’t look good at all (especially considering Pacioretty's recent injury history) and for now, we wait to hear about the extent of the injury. He's set to have an MRI.

Pacioretty has been a big addition to the forward group and gives the Hurricanes a much-needed scoring option and some size in the top-six. If he is out again, it would be a huge blow for Carolina.

Looking at the bright sides of the win though: most notably, the Hurricanes’ power play actually scored, converting twice. They did have seven attempts but still, it’s a step forward.

Meanwhile, Frederik Andersen put together another really strong game. He had to make some good saves on the likes of Boldy and Marcus Foligno and if he had stumbled early, we could’ve seen a different result.

The Hurricanes also continue to get offense from the blue line. Brent Burns got the Hurricanes on the board, Jalen Chatfield scored again, and Brady Skjei just set his career best for goals in a season, only halfway through the year.

It was also good to see Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov get going offensively, each managing two points. The top two lines overall had a combined corsi for percentage of 63 per cent at even strength, despite Carolina being outshot in the game.

After a strong first period, the Hurricanes arguably did get outplayed at even strength in the back 40 minutes, but they got the job done. It’s a big win, picking up two points against a good team after a break.

The Hurricanes will be back in action tomorrow, when they face the New York Islanders.


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Brent Burns proving to be perfect fit with Hurricanes after offseason trade
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