RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Petr Mrazek took San Jose’s best shot – squarely in the chin – and it knocked him to the ice. The Carolina goalie picked himself up, and when the game was on the line, he stopped the Sharks cold.
Mrazek stuffed San Jose in the shootout and Andrei Svechnikov scored the only goal of the tiebreaker, leading the Hurricanes past the Sharks 3-2 on Thursday night.
Mrazek stopped 28 shots – and one solid punch from Joe Thornton with his chin, dropping straight to the ice after what he called a ”cheap shot” and leading to some shoving behind the boards during the second-period melee.
”To be honest, it’s even better” after taking that punch, Mrazek said. ”You feel like you’re in the game and you want to make saves for guys and get the win.”
The punch came after Thornton poked at the goalie’s glove while he froze the puck and Mrazek retaliated by swinging his stick at the Sharks center.
”I think it definitely gets your group emotionally engaged in the game when you have a goalie swinging a stick at a guy like Joe, and what our group feels about him,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. ”As you saw, Joe can take care of himself.”
Svechnikov had a goal and an assist in regulation, Jake Gardiner also scored and Warren Foegele added two assists for the Hurricanes, who had lost three of four but never trailed in improving to 2-0 in shootouts.
Svechnikov had the only goal of the tiebreaker, beating Aaron Dell with a forehand to his stick side in the third round. Mrazek, who had stopped Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson in the first two rounds, then denied Logan Couture with his pads and stick to end it.
”Wasn’t our best game, for sure. Maybe not even our best in the last four or five, but loved the fact that we hung in there,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. ”I thought overtime was really good – we kind of perked up there. And obviously Petr, huge in the shootout.”
Marcus Sorensen scored and Couture added a deflected goal for the Sharks, who have lost two in a row after winning 11 of 13. Dell finished with 27 saves.
Svechnikov continued his recent tear by scoring 50 seconds in, beating Dell high with a backhand off Foegele’s smooth pass from the boards.
”He did a great forecheck, he gave it to me in the slot and I just kind of closed my eyes and shot it in,” Svechnikov said.
Gardiner pulled off a slick give-and-go with Foegele to put Carolina up 2-1 with 9:48 left in the second.
For Gardiner, that made up for the goal he helped allow: Sorensen made it 1-all with 12:44 left in the first when he beat the Carolina defenseman to the crease, took a pass from Thornton and scored into an open net.
Couture, coming off the most productive month of his NHL career with seven goals and 11 assists, tied it at 2 with his redirection of Karlsson’s shot with 17.6 seconds left in the second.
”It was a gutsy point by us,” DeBoer said. ”Them getting off and out in front of us at different points had us on our heels a few times, but I thought we battled through and persevered and found a way.”
NOTES: Carolina D Dougie Hamilton rang a shot off the right post 30 seconds into overtime. … Svechnikov has six goals and 10 assists in his last 13 games. … Svechnikov, who 12 goals and 19 assists, is the first Carolina player in seven years with 30 or more points before the team’s 30th game.
Sharks: Continue their road swing Saturday night at Tampa Bay.
Hurricanes: Play host to Minnesota on Saturday night.
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