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About Last Night: Righting the Ship

From Sebastian Aho and Warren Foegele, to Haydn Fleury and Joel Edmundson, a complete effort from the entire team put a halt to the Canes’ four game losing streak.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

After playing some of their worst hockey since 2018, the Carolina Hurricanes finally put an end to their four game losing streak by blowing out the Ottawa Senators last night. Star players like Sebastian Aho had a great night and guys just trying to maintain a roster spot like Haydn Fleury and Eetu Luostarinen contributed as well. Up down the Hurricanes lineup, the guys came to play, and the 8-2 final score reflected just that.

The Good - Beware of Aho

There is no denying that the face of the Hurricanes has had a rough start to the year. Sebastian Aho struggled to get going but it was okay because everyone else was picking up their game and the Canes kept winning. The young Finnish forward who signed a massive extension over the off season needed to get back to being his team’s superstar, and he’s started to do just that.

Last night was his second multi-goal outing of November, and he now has 10 points in his past 7 games. His first goal against the Senators was all work ethic, as he forced a turnover shorthanded and skated all the way down ice on a breakaway. After a quick move, Aho buried the puck past Anders Nilsson.

For as good as that goal was, his second one may have been even better because of his hockey IQ and awareness of where the puck was at. After the puck was deflected in to the air, Aho had to patiently wait until he could legally bat it in to the net. Being able to make contact with a puck in mid-air takes skill, but having the patience and wherewithal to wait until it was a legal move is what makes Aho such a special player.

Andrei Svechnikov has been playing great since opening night and now that Aho is heating up, the Hurricanes have two legitimate scorers that can wreak havoc on any night.

The Great - Depth Scoring

A team doesn’t score eight goals without having some impressive contributions all around the lineup. While Aho and Martin Necas both scored, those guys are expected to do that. Last night was about the depth guys who stole the show. Joel Edmundson, Ryan Dzingel, and Warren Foegele all had multi-point nights last night while Luostarinen and Fleury both scored one point as well.

Foegele started the mayhem with a goal just 44 seconds in to the game and Edmundson ended the scoring with just 2:13 left in the third. Foegele’s goal was a little skill and a lot of luck, but for a team desperate for a win to turn things around, they will take all the luck they can get.

The feel-good story of the night was Fleury’s goal. After scoring his first ever goal in the NHL back in October, Fleury found himself as the odd man out when Trevor van Riemsdyk came back from injury. Since then Fleury has played sparingly when the team has decided to play seven defensemen and eleven forwards. But he hasn’t had a chance to play a normal third pairing game since he scored his goal despite playing the best he ever has at this level.

After multiple meltdowns defensively over the last four games, Rod Brind’Amour decided to insert Fleury back in to the lineup and Fleury responded with his best game ever as a Hurricane. His goal, much like Foegele’s was shear luck, but he earned it. Rookie Luostarinen, who has been very good since being called up, passed the puck to Fleury who was entering the offensive zone. Fleury then tried to pass the puck over to Svechnikov but a lucky bounce off a Ottawa defender gave Fleury his second career goal.

Fleury and Luostarinen have both earned a spot in the lineup for now and if that means keeping a veteran out of the lineup, so be it.

Ryan Dzingel showed extreme toughness against his former team on Saturday night as he dropped the gloves with Vladislav Namestnikov but the team didn’t get the results. Last night, Dzingel’s new team came out on top and he had a large part in getting to Canes to the win. A fortunate recipient of being in the right place at the right time, Dzingel’s goal may have been the easiest of the night. It all started with Dzingel Dzangl’ing his way in to the offensive zone and some hard work by Foegele and Edmundson set his tap in goal.

The last guy on this list was the best one of the night earning the first star honors. Joel Edmundson was traded to Carolina right before the season started and despite questions surrounding his game, he’s been dependable every single night. While he is not known for his offensive game, he proved last night he has it in him even if it’s buried deep down. Notching his first ever point and goal as a Hurricane, Edmundson tallied three points total and finished a plus-three.

Known as a stay-at-home defenseman, Edmundson has provided the Hurricanes with security on the back end and on the penalty kill that Justin Faulk had not done in years. His added toughness makes him difficult to play against and is reminiscent of former Hurricane Tim Gleason. Coach Brind’Amour shuffled the defensive pairing putting Edmundson with Brett Pesce last night and it paid off just as the Fleury move paid off.

Moral of the Story

From top to bottom, all of the guys on the team, no matter their role, were important last night and the Hurricanes looked like the team we all know they can be. Now they have to take all the good things they displayed last night and repeat them against Buffalo on Thursday.

This stretch of 13 straight games against teams that missed the playoffs last year got off to a horrendous start but they still have plenty of time to make good. If they play like they did last night on a consistent basis, it should be no problem racking up points against some of their upcoming opponents.