The Carolina Hurricanes found a way to win a road game Saturday.
In short, put Ron Hainsey on the ice at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hainsey loves playing hockey in the place — and may be one of the few who does. The veteran defenseman had an overtime winner there last season against the New York Islanders, and did it again Saturday in overtime for a 5-4 victory.
The win was the Canes’ seventh on the road this season (7-14-6) and their first since a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 5.
Never miss a local story.
The Canes (24-20-7) pulled within four points of the Philadelphia Flyers and the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After the five-game slide before the NHL All-Star break, the Canes now have three straight wins, scooping up four points in 48 hours after beating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Friday at PNC Arena.
“We need ’em all, that’s kind of the bottom line,” Hainsey said. “We had an opportunity before the break to set ourselves in a good spot. We got zero out of 10. So we needed to get five or six (points) from these last three.”
Hainsey also had a second-period goal Saturday, and his OT blast doubled his scoring total for the season. A year ago, his OT winner came off the rush. This time, it came after Islanders captain John Tavares broke his stick on a faceoff, and Hainsey soon was open from the top of the slot for the shot.
“We caught a lucky break there,” Hainsey said.
A break, yes. But to reach that point the Canes had to put in some strong penalty killing work.
When rookie Sebastian Aho flipped the puck into the stands with 47.3 seconds left in regulation, the Canes had a delay-of-game penalty to kill in a 4-4 tie. But Jay McClement beat Tavares on the faceoff, and the Canes cleared the zone, burning 20 seconds, and the Canes reached overtime to secure a point.
The Isles then had a 4-on-3 power play to start the OT, but McClement again beat Tavares on the draw, burning another 20 seconds, and the Canes killed off the Aho penalty.
“It’s the best penalty kill in the league,” Isles coach Doug Weight said. “They make little plays. They’re a quick team, so they play with high energy. They challenge the puck, even on the 4-on-3.”
The Islanders had tied the score 4-4 in the third on a Josh Bailey power-play goal. The Canes killed off a Brett Pesce holding call later in the third, then the Aho penalty.
“A lot of hard work,” Hainsey said. “It wasn’t pretty, obviously, but we were able to get it done.”
In a back-and-forth game between two teams that played Friday — the Isles losing in Detroit — the Canes also got another goal from the D-men when Jaccob Slavin hammered in a shot in the first. Lee Stempniak, on his 34th birthday, scored in the second, and Teuvo Teravainen scored off a rebound with two seconds left in the second period.
Goalie Cam Ward, starting both games in the back-to-back, had 33 saves. The Canes blocked 24 shots, helping Ward, but the Isles had an 11-2 shooting edge in the third period.
The Canes have two road games this week before their five-day bye week — at Washington on Tuesday, then the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
“Heading into the break we were getting shelled a little bit and were shell-shocked,” Stempniak said. “We’d give up a goal, then we’d give up a second, give up a third and the game would get away from us quickly. We’ve done a lot better job of responding to any adversity.”