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Quick observations from the Carolina Hurricanes’ 4-1 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday in the first preseason game for both teams.
— Rod Brind’Amour is 1-0 as a head coach. OK, unofficial, a preseason game, doesn’t count, yada, yada. But 1-0.
— Andrei Svechnikov now has played against NHL competition, gotten his first good taste of what’s to come.
The Russian forward, the Canes’ first-round draft pick this year, has the power and showed off some speed. He scored a power-play goal in the third period and earned an assist on Lucas Wallmark’s power-play score in the first. The kid’s on his way.
— Brind’Amour wanted a good first game from Petr Mrazek and got it. The goalie was quick on his skates and sharp on his angles in playing a little more than half the game, stopping all nine shots before Alex Nedeljkovic took over in net.
It will be Scott Darling’s turn Wednesday against the Lightning at PNC Arena, but Mrazek saw a lot of Tampa Bay’s best players.
— Brind’Amour has a lot of skating early in camp and it showed Tuesday. The Canes appeared to have their legs from the start and had more jump than the Lightning, getting in quickly on the forecheck and beating the Bolts to a lot of pucks.
Brind’Amour said before the game he was looking for a high “compete level.” He got it, and from a young lineup. The only lapse: a third-period power-play score by Tampa Bay.
— Who would have thought the Canes’ first goal, preseason or otherwise, would be scored by Michal Cajkovsky?
The defenseman has been in training camp on a professional tryout offer, having earned the PTO opportunity with some solid play in the KHL and for Slovakia’s national team in the Olympics and 2018 World Championship.
Cajkovsky scored in the first period on a shot from the left circle and had a few more looks, not hesitating to take his shots. He did have two third-period penalties.
— Net-front presence? It’s been a spotty thing for the Canes the past few years but was constant Tuesday. Valentin Zykov, hard to dislodge in front, got the Canes’ third goal with a tip off a Patrick Brown shot.
— It’s going to continue to be tough competition on the back end during camp as the top six are sorted out. Haydn Fleury, a rookie last season, is slimmer, quicker and played with confidence Tuesday.