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Slavin sends Hurricanes to shootout win over Wild

Minnesota Wild goalie Alex Stalock (32) makes a save in front of Carolina Hurricanes forward Victor Rask (49) during the first period at PNC Arena on Saturday Oct. 7. (James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports)1 / 2
Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal (12) skates with puck against Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (28) during the first period at PNC Arena on Saturday, Oct. 7. (James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports)2 / 2

RALEIGH, N.C.—Jaccob Slavin scored the only goal in the shootout and Scott Darling won his Carolina debut as the Hurricanes snapped a six-game winless streak in season openers with a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night,Oct. 7.

Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu scored with 0.3 seconds left in regulation with goalie Alex Stalock pulled for an extra attacker to tie the score at 4. The play was reviewed for possible goaltender interference on a wild scramble in front of Darling, but the ruling was upheld.

After a scoreless overtime period, Slavin beat Stalock with a backhander for the Hurricanes, who rallied three times from one-goal deficits.

Sebastian Aho set up Carolina defenseman Noah Hanifin with 14:45 left in the third period to tie the score at 3. Aho then found Victor Rask racing down the right wing with 1:34 left in regulation to give the Hurricanes the lead before the final drama from Koivu.

After losing at Detroit on Thursday night, Minnesota's special teams improved drastically in this match. The Wild registered a power-play goal in the first period from Jason Zucker and allowed only one shot midway through the period on a Carolina 5-on-3 that lasted 1:28.

Two minutes after the two-man disadvantage, Eric Staal, Carolina's long-time captain who was traded in February 2016 before signing as a free agent with the Wild, beat Darling on a breakaway for his 354th career goal and a 3-1 lead. Zucker assisted on the Staal goal.

But Derek Ryan's first of the season on the power play late in the second got Carolina to within 3-2. Hanifin jumped into the play from his defensive position and drilled a shot past Stalock (38 saves) after taking a centering pass from Aho.

The Wild twice took leads in the first with Zucker's goal early on and then Stewart adding one with 1:13 left in the period when he drove past Hanifin down the right wing and broke in alone on Darling, lifting a backhander past the goalie.

Carolina's first-period goal came from its fourth line as Joakim Nordstrom was able to poke the puck past Stalock after a scramble in front of the net. Marcus Kruger assisted on the goal to earn his first point in a Hurricanes uniform after being acquired in July from Vegas.

NOTES: Carolina G Cam Ward didn't start a season opener for the first time in his 13-year career. ... Minnesota RW Chris Stewart played in his 600th game. ... RW Mikael Granlund, last year's leading scorer for the Wild who played in 81 games, was sidelined Saturday night with a lower-body injury. ... Hurricanes D Haydn Fleury, the team seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, made his NHL debut on Carolina's third defensive pairing with Trevor van Riemsdyk. ... Carolina C Elias Lindholm now wears No. 28 after giving his No. 16 jersey to former Chicago Blackhawk Marcus Kruger.