Pesce’s late power-play goal keeps Hurricanes undefeated

Sports

Carolina Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho (20) and Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel (81) tussle during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Defenseman Brett Pesce scored a power-play goal with 2:27 left in regulation Sunday to keep the Carolina Hurricanes undefeated with a 2-1 victory over the winless Arizona Coyotes.

The Hurricanes are the last standing unbeaten team in the NHL at 8-0-0, extending the best start to a season in franchise history. Carolina’s winning streak is also tied for the fourth-longest to begin a season in NHL history.

“We’re going to have to grind,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It could have easily been a really frustrating game.”

Martin Necas scored the Hurricanes’ other goal and set up Pesce’s game-winner. Frederik Andersen stopped 22 shots for his seventh win.

“We’re oozing confidence. We believe that we can win every game we’re in,” Pesce said. “The biggest thing for us was just sticking to our game plan. I thought it was a gutsy win for us.”

Pesce’s first goal of the season allowed him to become the 14th different Carolina player with at least one goal.

Rookie Karel Vejmelka made 37 saves for the Coyotes, who are 0-8-1. Christian Fischer had the team’s lone goal.

“They deserve more,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said of his players. “They really earned the right to get a point at least.”

It was the first game in NHL history between an undefeated team having played seven or more games against a winless team with at least seven games, according to NHL Stats.

Necas scored five seconds after a faceoff on Carolina’s 26th shot of the game to pull even with 3:03 left in the second period.

“Of course you want to get on the board,” Necas said. “But at the end of the day, I haven’t scored my first seven games, but we were still winning.”

Fischer opened the scoring with a first-period goal for his second tally of the season.

“I saw an opening, take it to the net,” Fischer said. “We’re struggling to score right now. We know what we have to do. It’s on us. We just have to find a way.”

It was the third time in Carolina’s four-game homestand that the opponent scored first.

“The key was not giving up another one,” Brind’Amour said. “If they had got that second one, those are the games that you’re getting a bunch of chances and that would have been tough to come back from.”

While it’s Andersen’s first season with Carolina, Sunday was his 400th NHL game. He holds a 233-100-48 record.

TAKE A LOOK

The Hurricanes had their first lineup change — other than in goal —after using the same skaters for the first seven games.

With right winger Nino Niederreiter out with a lower-body injury suffered Friday night, so 19-year-old Seth Jarvis made his NHL debut and assisted on Pesce’s goal.

“No nerves at all. That’s what makes him special, he’s out there at the end on the power play,” Brind’Amour said. “Plays huge moments, making plays.”

Jarvis, who was a first-round draft pick in 2020, is one of only two players with less than 100 career games to play for the Hurricanes so far this season.

“I had a great time and tons of fun,” Jarvis said.

FLIP THE CALENDAR

In their last seven October games, the Coyotes faced four undefeated teams and another without a regulation loss.

This was the second one-goal setback for Arizona, though Friday night’s 2-0 defeat at Washington included an empty-net goal for the Capitals.

“They fight hard. They work as hard as we can hope and dream,” Tourigny said. “But right now we have nothing to show for it. It’s too bad.”

UP NEXT

Coyotes: At Philadelphia on Tuesday for the fifth stop on a six-game road trip.

Hurricanes: At Chicago on Wednesday to begin a three-game road stretch.

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