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Stempniak Scores, Aho Gets Hurt as Hurricanes Fall to Flames Ahead of the Bye Week

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Stemper scores and Sebastian scares as Canes enter bye week on a sour note.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday afternoon presented a big challenge for the Carolina Hurricanes, who were tasked with shutting down the red-hot Calgary Flames ahead of a five-day break.

The Canes weren’t able to generate enough energy early on, and that came back to haunt them in the end as they fell to the visiting Flames by a score of 4-1.

Calgary’s field day started early in the opening frame. While being tripped, former first-round draft pick Curtis Lazar centered a puck in front of Canes starter Scott Darling and veteran center Matt Stajan was able to beat Darling through traffic in front to make it 1-0.

Later in period one, Sebastian Aho got leveled, cleanly, at center ice, which led to an odd-man opportunity for the Flames and, ultimately, a puck in the back of Carolina’s net as Dougie Hamilton beat Darling to make it 2-0.

The middle frame started on a positive note for Carolina. They were able to garner some scoring chances that they weren't getting in the first 20 minutes, but the middle portion of the period slanted in Calgary’s direction.

The Flames regained control, but Darling was solid and the Hurricanes were able to stand their ground. A pair of late-second period powerplays presented a huge opportunity for the home team to build momentum entering the third period, but they came up short both times and looked out of sorts in the final minute of their second manpower advantage.

The third period was Carolina’s worst, not because they got outscored 2-1, but because they saw their young star forward go down with a scary injury.


In addition to contact with the head, Aho also suffered knee-to-knee contact with the Flames’ defenseman, which could prove to be another issue for Aho.

You’re free to form your own opinion on the hit, but the clear contact to the head, coupled with Mark Giordano’s follow through with his shoulder and elevation off of his feet, certainly makes it look like a dirty, inexcusable hit from a very smart and talented player who is, undoubtedly, above that kind of stuff.

Justin Williams immediately dropped the gloves with the Flames captain, who was given a game misconduct for the hit. The misconduct means that the league will automatically take a look at the hit for potential discipline on Giordano. That said, his lack of an extensive history with regards to discipline from the league makes it far from a sure-thing that he will receive much of any punishment from the NHL, but only time will tell.

There was no firm update provided by head coach Bill Peters after the game with regards to Aho’s status.

Shortly thereafter, the Hurricanes started to play with more energy, and a wrist shot wired off of the stick of Brock McGinn on the rush appeared to be a savior for the team but, in reality, rang right off of the post and, somehow, stayed out of the net. That led to a chance the other way and another goal for the Flames - Hamilton’s second of the day.

Matthew Tkachuk would add another one in the third period for Calgary. He tried to center the puck in front of the Canes net, but it bounced off of Jaccob Slavin and went right back to the young forward and he roofed it on Darling, who had no chance to make the stop.

Carolina did avoid the shutout, though. Skating in just his second game of the season due to a myriad of injuries, Lee Stempniak chipped in a loose puck in front of Mike Smith, who had a wonderful game for the road team, and made it a 4-1 hockey game.

That’s how the game would end. The Hurricanes, quite frankly, laid an egg on home ice going into their bye week. The Flames were faster, stronger, more physical, and they took advantage of their opportunities.

The bye week comes at a good time for Carolina as the flu bug has hit that locker room full-force and now their most dangerous offensive contributor has, potentially, gone down with a concerning injury.

Rank the Performances

Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.

Following the game, the Hurricanes reassigned Lucas Wallmark to the Charlotte Checkers. The release from the team follows.


Forward has one goal in four games with the Hurricanes this season

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has reassigned forward Lucas Wallmark to the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Charlotte Checkers.

Wallmark, 22, has played in four games with Carolina this season and scored his first career NHL goal against St. Louis on Dec. 30. The Umea, Sweden, native has recorded three points (1g, 2a) in 12 NHL games with the Hurricanes. Wallmark has tallied 23 points (7g, 16a) in 20 games with the Checkers this season and has earned 69 points (31g, 38a) in 87 career AHL games with Charlotte.