RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Martin Necas scored with 40.1 seconds left on the clock in overtime to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brady Skjei both had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who maintained their three-point lead over New Jersey atop the Metropolitan Division despite squandering a two-goal lead. Stefan Noesen had two assists.
Antti Raanta made 25 saves to improve to 18-2-3 as Carolina got its 50th win of the season.
Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk had goals for Ottawa and Alex DeBrincat registered two assists.
The outcome spoiled the NHL debut for Senators goalie Leevi Merilainen, who made 34 saves. The 20-year-old from Finland stopped all 21 shots across the second and third periods to give Ottawa a chance.
Necas has a career-high 27 goals, but his OT tally ended an eight-game stretch without a goal. He has five game-winning goals.
Carolina looked strong in the first period. Kotkaniemi’s 16th goal of the season came 1:50 into the game.
Skjei’s power-play goal came with 4:02 left in the first, giving him 18 goals. That the matches the most goals for a defenseman in the franchise’s 25 years in North Carolina.
Giroux broke free toward the net and took a perfect pass from DeBrintcat for his 27th goal.
The Hurricanes failed to convert on a 5-on-3 power play that spanned the second and third periods. Then the Senators notched their first power-play goal in three games when Tkachuk converted at 2:52 of the third.
NOTES: Giroux has scored 14 career goals vs. Carolina, marking the highest number for any current Ottawa player. … Tkachuk has posted nine goals in the last 12 games. … The Hurricanes are 32-3-4 when scoring first this season.
Senators: At Florida on Thursday to conclude a three-game trip.
Hurricanes: At Nashville on Thursday to begin a three-game road trip.