3 Takeaways From Hurricanes’ 4-0 Win vs. Panthers

The Carolina Hurricanes will surge into 2023 in the midst of an impressive 10-game win streak and 16-game point streak following a dominant 4-0 victory at home against the Florida Panthers Friday night (Dec. 30). The Hurricanes’ special teams came up big while Antti Raanta earned his second consecutive shutout in the win. Carolina finishes off a dominant December with a 12-0-1 record.

Stefan Noesen, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen each found the net on power-play opportunities in the first two periods while Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored in the final period just seconds after a Hurricanes advantage expired. This performance from the Hurricanes’ power-play unit is a breath of fresh air for fans everywhere given their struggles in this department this season.

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The Hurricanes are rewriting the record books as they head into the new year. The 10-game win streak sets a new franchise record while the Hurricanes continue to add to their franchise-best point streak, which currently sits at 16. The most impressive aspect of the Hurricanes’ run is the fashion in which they have done it. Carolina has leaned on tremendous goalie play from Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov and utilized their offensive depth to overcome several minor injuries to key contributors including Sebastian Aho.

Hurricanes’ Power Play Shines

It’s been no secret that the Hurricanes’ power play has struggled throughout much of the 2022-23 NHL season, as they entered the contest with the 27th-best power-play percentage in the league. However, the Hurricanes’ power-play unit shined in the 4-0 victory over the Panthers, scoring three of their four goals while on the power play. This could be a troubling sign for the rest of the league if Carolina can figure out their power play moving forward. The three power-play goals marked a season high for the Hurricanes, who had a total of two power-play goals in their previous five games.

Raanta With Another Shutout

Raanta was a brick wall for Carolina in the victory, stopping all 19 shots that came his way while earning his second consecutive shutout. The shutout came a night after the Florida Panthers’ offense scored seven times against the Montreal Canadiens. The Hurricanes also killed three Panther power plays on the night, thanks to a feisty defensive performance from Raanta and the Carolina penalty-kill unit. Carolina has been very consistent on the penalty kill all season as they currently hold the ninth-best penalty-kill percentage in the league.

Antti Raanta Carolina Hurricanes
Antti Raanta, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It was evident early on that it would be the Hurricanes’ night as they held the Panthers to only three shots on goal in the first period despite affording them three power-play opportunities.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi Has Big Night

Jesperi Kotkaniemi showed some solid play for Carolina in the win over Florida, finishing with two points (one goal, one assist) in just over 14 minutes on ice. This was his first multi-point game of the year in what has been a very underwhelming season to this point for the young Finnish forward. Kotkaniemi has been utilized as the center on the fourth line for much of the season in a season in which many predicted he would compete for the 2C position.

Kotkaniemi has produced 12 points on the season with six goals and six assists. It will be intriguing to see if he can continue to provide valuable production for the Hurricanes as a bottom-six forward.

Will Carolina Stay Hot?

As we head into 2023 it will be interesting to see how long the Hurricanes can carry their franchise-record win and point streaks. Another interesting topic to follow will be how head coach Rod Brind’Amour handles the goalie situation with both Kochetkov and Raanta playing at an extremely high level with veteran Frederik Andersen set to return soon. Also, all signs are pointing to forward Max Pacioretty making his Carolina debut shortly after the calendar turns, so Brind’Amour will have to weigh his options as he tweaks the lineup upon his return. Nevertheless, it’s evident that Carolina is a serious Stanley Cup contender as they continue to find ways to win regardless of who’s in net or who’s on ice.

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