RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes have bet on their depth all season, and it paid off Friday with a three-of-a-kind effort from forwards on three different lines.
Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark and Martin Necas all scored their 10th goal of the season, and Petr Mrazek made 32 saves for his third shutout of the season to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes in front of 16,476 at PNC Arena.
“We’re a young group, and they’re a huge part of what we’re doing,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of the the three drafted-and-developed players. “So we need everyone to contribute, but … when they’re scoring, it takes a lot of pressure off our other guys as well. They all had good games tonight.”
The Hurricanes dominated the first 14 minutes and then finally broke through when Foegele opened the scoring.
Carolina defenseman Jake Gardiner dumped the puck in the corner and Andrei Svechnikov pursued. Arizona defenseman Jordan Oesterle seemed to shy away as the 19-year-old power forward barreled in. Svechnikov got the puck, wheeled around and passed to Foegele in the slot. Foegele didn’t miss, beating Antti Raanta for a 1-0 lead.
“You can see Svech working hard, and he makes a really skilled play and I’m fortunate enough to get that in,” Foegele said.
Arizona fought back in the second, but Mrazek played perhaps his best period of the season during arguably his best game of 2019-20.
“I think any goalie, when they’re dialed in, it seems like even when they get Grade-A’s it doesn’t look like a Grade-A because he’s already ahead of it, and that’s almost what it felt like tonight at times,” Brind’Amour said of Mrazek’s performance. “They had some really good looks that he made look like easy saves, which they weren’t.”
Then Carolina pounced with consecutive goals in the final 73 seconds of the middle frame.
Off a faceoff, the puck went back to Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton, and his point shot was redirected by Wallmark at 18:47 to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.
Then just over a minute later, Necas put on a skating clinic, starting at the top of the left faceoff circle and going around the net at top speed for a wraparound backhand that put Carolina up three with just 10 seconds left in the middle frame.
The play highlighted Necas’ top-end skill — and Brind’Amour’s patience in sticking with his young players through their miscues.
“About 30 seconds before that, he turned it over at our line and I was going, ‘Oh, no — 30 seconds left in the period,’” Brind’Amour said. “But there’s a double-edged sword on that, and that’s what we’ve talked about a lot with a lot of our young guys. It ended up pretty much putting the game away when he scores that goal.
“We’ve got to live with some of the stuff that they make on the one end because it is such an important factor that they do have that game-changing ability.”
The two goals took the pressure off the Hurricanes, who play again Saturday against the Kings in their second annual Whalers Night game.
“It’s good going into the third period with three goals and there’s 20 minutes of hockey left knowing what we need to do,” Foegele said.
Raanta (25 saves) did not return for start of the this period due to injury and was replaced by Adin Hill.
Carolina managed only one shot on Hill in the third, but the Coyotes couldn’t dent Mrazek.
As for the the trio of 10-goal scorers, they have no time to celebrate with another game in 21 hours.
“Just smiles,” Foegele said of their reward for hitting double digits. “I think we’re more happy to get the two points. These points are crucial coming up to the break, and now we focus on tomorrow.”
Notes: The Coyotes were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 4 and 6, 2018 — the first two games of last season. … The Hurricanes are now 13-2-1 when they’re outshot this season. … Carolina is now 21-6-2 when wearing their black uniforms. … The Hurricanes have seven players with double-digit goals. … Every Hurricanes player was plus-1 expect the three top-line forwards (Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Nino Niederreiter).