Carolina tops Vegas in shootout, spoils DeBoer’s home debut
LAS VEGAS (AP) — For a brief moment, after the jumbotron inside T-Mobile Arena played a highlight reel and Erik Haula’s name was announced the same way as when the forward starred for the Vegas Golden Knights, the veteran got a bit emotional as an announced crowd of 18,417 gave him a standing ovation.
Then it was back to business.
Haula had a goal and an assist, Andrei Svechnikov and Justin Williams scored in the shootout, and the Carolina Hurricanes notched a 6-5 victory over Vegas on Saturday night.
“It felt good,” Haula said. “The reception from the fans, obviously a big thank you to the Golden Knights making me feel welcome. This will always hold such a special place in my heart.”
Carolina erased a two-goal deficit twice in the third period, scoring four goals in the final frame.
“Games are a little crazy sometimes and just little sparks can get your team going,” said Haula, who snapped a nine-game drought without a point. “In the third there, I don’t know what happened. We were a different team and we played well, we played how we want to play.”
Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho and Haydn Fleury scored in regulation for the Hurricanes. James Reimer made 31 saves, including 12 in the third period, when the fireworks began.
With Vegas leading 3-1, Aho punched in a loose rebound from his initial shot, sneaking the puck between Marc-Andre Fleury and the post. Less than a minute later, Vegas’ Chandler Stephenson broke free on a breakaway and notched his second short-handed goal of the season to push Vegas back in front by two goals.
The lead wouldn’t last, though, as Haula ignited the Hurricanes and triggered three unanswered goals before Vegas’ Cody Eakin tied it at 5-all with his first goal since Nov. 23.
Both teams had opportunities in overtime, particularly Carolina, when Svechnikov hit the crossbar and Brett Pesce hit the post. With less than a minute remaining, Fleury stopped Aho on a breakaway, while Reimer stopped Shea Theodore’s one-timer.
Carolina, playing its third road game in five nights, came back from a two-goal deficit for the second straight game, as it defeated Arizona 5-3 on Thursday after falling behind 2-0.
The win moved the Hurricanes into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, one point back of the New York Islanders. Carolina will conclude a four-game road trip by riding a 5-2-1 win streak into Dallas on Tuesday.
“There’s no quit in our team,” said Aho, who has recorded a point in six straight games, including a goal in each of the last five. “They played really good (in the) first period and we were kind of off maybe. But we went to work and we never stopped believing. And when we got the one, you could feel it on the bench we would get a second one and another one, and that’s a good feeling to have.”
The loss spoiled the home debut of Vegas coach Peter DeBoer, who was hired Jan. 15 and coached his first seven games with the Golden Knights on the road. Vegas was also playing its first home game in 28 days after two four-game road trips that sandwiched the All-Star break and the team’s midseason bye week.
Max Pacioretty, Jon Merrill and Theodore also scored for Vegas. Fleury made 29 saves.
The Golden Knights committed two costly penalties in the third period, and Carolina, which came in with the 12th-best road power play, scored both times. Vegas, meanwhile, came in with the league’s third-best home power play and went 0 for 2.
“Strange game,” DeBoer said. “I was worried a little bit about the game coming off the road. I thought we really started well, I liked our first period. ... I thought the second and third we didn’t manage the game well. They pushed and we turned pucks over and took some penalties. Some uncharacteristic things. We’ve been playing some real solid hockey for a while and the second and third, I thought, we were our own worst enemy.”
NOTES: Vegas C William Karlsson, who has not played since Jan. 14, skated with the team for the first time in a month. He has been listed as week to week with an upper-body injury. DeBoer said “he’s getting close (and has) got another X-ray tomorrow.” Pending the result, Karlsson could join the Golden Knights for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota. Prior to his injury, Karlsson played in 234 straight games and was the only player to appear in every game in franchise history. ... The Golden Knights will play nine of their next 11 games in Vegas. ... Teravainen played in his 300th career game with Carolina
Carolina: Visits Dallas on Tuesday.
Vegas: Visits Minnesota on Tuesday.
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