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About Last Night: Aho, Williams, Ferland, Hurricanes stay hot

Thanks to Sebastian Aho’s second career hat trick and a continued hot streak from Justin Williams and Micheal Ferland, the Canes have won seven of eight games and are right in the thick of the wild card hunt.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators Sunday, the Hurricanes are red hot. Behind the hot hands of Sebastian Aho, Justin Williams and Micheal Ferland, the team won for the seventh time in eight games and is now just four points out of a wild card spot.

While the Canes have some big decisions to make in the near future, the present sure has been a lot of fun. Here’s a few key takeaways from the win.

Oh captain, my captain

With a power-play goal against the Preds Sunday, Williams is officially red hot. He’s got goals in five straight games, which ties a career high, and points in seven straight.

Earlier in the season, as Williams’ numbers took a dive in November and December, it was fair to wonder if he’d seriously lost a step. Williams had just three goals and six points in both of those months. So far in January he already has five goals and six points in just six games.

The Canes’ captain certainly looks capable of leading the charge by example down the stretch.

Decisions, decisions

The Hurricanes finally have what they’ve been looking for in a goalscoring power forward to play on the top line. Micheal Ferland has a goal and four assists in two games since being returned to the team’s top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

The trio seems to have great chemistry, and Ferland’s hard-nosed style is ideal for finishing the chances Aho and Teravainen create. Ferland even took down Preds forward Austin Watson with a three-punch KO in the first period.

Unfortunately, the clock may be ticking on his time with the Canes.

He’s going to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and, per reports, the two parties are not close on an extension and Ferland could be traded.

Brett and I will both have more to say on this subject this week, but there’s a massive decision coming for the Hurricanes’ brain trust.

First-line center

Say it with me. The Carolina Hurricanes have a number one center. Say it with me again. The Carolina Hurricanes have a number one center.

With his second career hat trick (a goal at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded), Sebastian Aho is now at 21 goals and 51 points in 45 games this season. He’s in the top 20 in points and top 25 in goals.

And Aho has been doing that playing center all season for the first time in his career. He’s not just playing in the middle, he’s thriving doing it. For so long, the discussion around the Hurricanes has been that they needed that top-line, point-producing center.

In Aho, they appear to have just that.