Next season, the Carolina Hurricanes might want to tell Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho that the first game of the season is actually game number 16.
The Canes’ hottest combination hooked up again for three goals and six points as the Hurricanes earned a measure of revenge for their loss in Brooklyn on Thursday, downing the New York Islanders 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena.
It didn’t take the Canes long to jump out to an early lead. Aho’s fourth goal in as many games came on a power play just 1:50 in, after former Hurricane Andrew Ladd took a roughing penalty less than a minute from the opening puck drop. The pass from Teravainen was so perfect that Aho got everything on the one-timer, shooting it so hard that it buried itself under the padding in the back of the net and the horn guy was the only person in the building who knew it went in.
Teravainen returned the favor two minutes later, taking a lead pass from his Finnish counterpart that deflected off Adam Pelech’s skate and knuckled past Jaroslav Halak to put the Canes up by two. Nick Leddy then undressed the pairing of Jaccob Slavin and Marcus Kruger to surprise Cam Ward, who wasn’t ready for the shot, and pull the Islanders back to within one.
But before the first period was done, the Canes put the magic number on the scoreboard. Phil Di Giuseppe, in the lineup in place of the scratched Victor Rask, played a perfect pass to Elias Lindholm, who got Halak moving the wrong way and left him hung out to dry in giving the Canes a 3-1 lead.
The second period belonged to Cam Ward, who jumped in a time machine and turned the clock back a decade in one of his best performances in many years. At one point the Canes were being outshot 8-1 and it didn’t matter because Ward was stopping everything. At one point, he denied Calvin de Haan on a bank shot, then in the same motion got a pad to Alan Quine’s followup attempt, getting a big assist from Derek Ryan who cleared the puck off the line.
Teravainen made it a three-goal lead with 2:20 to go in the second, wiring the puck top-shelf behind Halak and off the back support bracket of the net. The officials made no call of a goal until they reviewed the play, but the Canes wasted no time celebrating, skating back to the bench even before the referee made it to the penalty box to look at the iPad.
Ward was still in the zone in the third, coming way out to topple Ladd on a shorthanded rush and then snaring John Tavares’ followup chance 25 feet from the net into his glove.
He did likewise to shut down an Anthony Beauvillier shorthanded breakaway a few minutes later. Those saves came in handy when John Tavares pulled the Islanders to within two on a power play with 6:43 left. In a play eerily similar to Teravainen’s second goal, Tavares tipped a point shot from Leddy up and over Ward’s shoulder, off the bracket in the back of the net that was confirmed on replay.
A late Mathew Barzal high-sticking penalty with 3:00 left gave the Canes a chance to ice the game, and despite not scoring the Canes killed the rest of the clock and moved out of the Metro basement for the first time in a month.
Notes and Quotes
It was a good weekend. I liked the way we played today. I liked the way we started. Part of our foundation is starting on time, and we did that today.
[On Teravainen:] He’s dangerous. He has a real good, underrated shot, and people don’t see it enough. But it’s heavy too. Now that he’s getting on the board with it, we need to keep him in that mindset.
It’s always hard when you have to do that [scratching Rask]. But you have to do what you think is best for the group, and we needed to get a win today. We know the importance of the time of year, we need to accumulate points and establish a quality home record. We have to help Victor right now. We need him to get back to where he was, and not only that, but higher. He’s still a young guy with big upside. We have to find a way to make that work.
[About whether Rask has to earn his way back into the lineup:] We have guys dinged up, getting looked at. I don’t know. Does he need to be better? Yes. Does he know that? Yes. Can he be better? For sure. He knows that. We believe in him, we’ll help him get better, we’ll support him and get him with the right people to make him effective. We have some lines that we’re very comfortable with and others that we’re trying to get to play better on a consistent basis.
Ward was lights out. He was outstanding. Big saves, good on the penalty kill. He was dialed in. Mike Bales is doing his thing. We talked to Wardo in Brooklyn about the upcoming back to back. We knew we were going to split them, and we were comfortable going either way. We did, and they both played well.
This is our third set of back to backs. Fleury’s game has dropped off on the back to backs. That’s understandable, and that’s what happens with young guys. He was good with it. We expect him to get right back in, and as a young guy missing a game isn’t the end of the world.
They got a real strong win in Tampa Bay. We knew it was going to be a tough test. We were real solid against Buffalo. Back to backs can really test you. The guys came out in the first period and gave us some insurance by getting the lead. It kind of turned into a hold-on phase there for a bit. All in all, we can be happy with how the weekend went.
You just want to take care of your own business. They have four solid lines that can really score. They’re right at the top of the lead in goals. Despite being up 4-1, you have to be on your toes and ready because they’re going to be pushing. It was a good atmosphere hearing the fans cheering us.
I think guys are tired and banged up, but tonight was gutsy. All through the lineup, I thought Dahlbeck stepped in and played a great game. Things like that don’t go unnoticed.
It was a semi-breakaway, and I wanted to go, then I was like no, then I was like heck, I’m going to go. Tavares shot it right at me. I did a baseball slide and turned the double play, I guess.
When you haven’t played in a while, you want to feel the puck, and especially early. I thought despite them having a lot of chances, I was moving a lot. We blocked a lot of shots early. Those are things you need to be successful.
It’s been fun to play with those guys. I think we’re getting a couple of lucky bounces, but we’re working hard so that’s why we’re getting those.
I think everybody got pretty excited when [Aho] got his first, and now he’s scoring every game. He’s not changing anything. He didn’t get any goals in the first 15 or so, but he’s played the same way. He just didn’t get any luck.
We have four good lines, and any of those lines can score and help the team. The last few games it’s been our line, but I think any line can jump in and win some games for us.
It’s all about confidence. We feel good about ourselves. It’s always more fun to play with a smile and have some fun out there. It’s big when we get those [power play] chances, if we don’t score we need to build on those chances. Tonight we got one early, so it was good.
- Rask’s healthy scratch tonight was the first since his rookie season, when he sat for a pair of games in February of 2015 to get what Peters called a “mental break” at the time. The only other games he’d missed in his career were a pair in January 2016 when he suffered an upper-body injury.
- Aho’s four-game goal streak extends the longest of his career. He hadn’t scored in more than two consecutive in his previous 100 career games.
- It was only the second time this season that the Canes have scored twice on the power play, and the last time was more than a month ago: on October 17 in Edmonton.
- And more good news: the Canes are no longer second-bottom with the man advantage. Their 2-for-5 performance tonight moved them all the way up to 27th, at 15.4%.
- The Canes’ win dropped the Flyers into the Metro basement, and the Rangers might be there as well depending on what they do tonight against the Senators.
- The Canes are off tomorrow and will be back on the ice for practice Tuesday ahead of the visit from the Rangers on Wednesday.
Rank the Performances
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