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About Last Night: Aho Returns and Skinner Sparks

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Sebastian Aho returns to score the Canes’ first goal of the night as the team followed Jeff Skinner's resiliency with the puck.

Jamie Kellner

Tuesday was a night where the Carolina Hurricanes needed points against an Eastern Conference bottom-feder to stay afloat in the playoff race. Typically, they botch the opportunity to get a good start after the All Star break. However, this time, they got the production they needed from important players and started off their eight-game homestand on the right foot.

It was a stalemate most of the way through the first period with both teams trading opportunities and flying up the ice respectively. Returning from his injury, Sebastian Aho whiffed on a chance early on but it was good to see him get involved after a deeply-felt absence.

Overall, the team played well because they followed Jeff Skinner’s lead. Skinner totaled six shots just through two periods and was actively forcing turnovers and creating chances for his teammates by either serving as a primary pass or getting a shot on net, driving play and giving his teammates time to get their legs back underneath them following the break.

The Hurricanes controlled most of the momentum toward the end of the first period, but that wouldn’t stop the Ottawa Senators from striking first in the second period. Notably, though, Carolina didn’t get deflated. Bill Peters juggled the lines, reuniting the TSA line, and the Canes kept pushing forward as they totaled 18 shots to the Senators’ 13. The Hurricanes played an offensively sound game in the second and kept the momentum pushing into the third period.

Justin Williams has had a net-front presence the entire season and the Canes are following suit as Williams has shown that it pays off. Several rebounds or chances throughout the final two periods came off the fact the Hurricanes had a body in front of the net, something they’ve lacked for years.

Despite some miscommunication on passes, the Hurricanes had clean zone entries all game but really dialed it up in the third. With the TSA line back together – it should never be split – it showed why it’s one of the most dominating lines in hockey today as Teuvo Teravainen made a play to Sebastian Aho who ripped a shot from the point in transition to tie the game. That was a turning point in the game as the Hurricanes dominated possession continually for the third period all the way to the final horn.

Victor Rask lit the lamp on a sweet shortside goal on the power play to really seal the deal. Both goaltenders played well, and the Hurricanes could have had several goals if it weren’t for some Craig Anderson robbery.

The Hurricanes needed this win for a final push down the stretch where they have eight straight games at home. There’s no reason they shouldn’t win six or seven of those. A come from behind victory is never easy, but if they play like this continually for the rest of the season, put their name in the hat for a Wild Card spot.