It’s not uncommon for an NHL team returning from a road trip to struggle in their first game back on home ice. The Hurricanes had no such issues on Tuesday night, as they dismantled the Los Angeles Kings 6-1. Dougie Hamilton had two goals and an assist, Teuvo Teravainen had a four-point night, and Jordan Staal had three assists as the Canes put an exclamation point on the best ever February for the franchise.
Following an uneventful trade deadline on Monday, which saw the Canes refrain from any NHL trades in favor of keeping the current squad intact, head coach Rod Brind’Amour made a slight alteration to his fourth line. Saku Maenalanen was brought in to replace Greg McKegg. The coach’s decision to start Maenalanen paid off as the fourth line of Lucas Wallmark, Warren Foegele and Maenalanen provided energy and an early lead for the Canes. Just shy of six minutes in, Maenalanen drove the net and was pushed into Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick by Dion Phaneuf. With Quick down and out, Dougie Hamilton collected the puck and buried a quick snapper over the sprawling keeper to give the Canes the early 1-0 lead.
Two of Maenalanen’s fellow Finns would combine to double the Canes’ lead at 11:15 of the first. Teuvo Teravainen got his stick in a passing lane in the Canes’ defensive zone and deflected a cross ice pass. Aho then turned on the jets, creating space for himself to get off a wrist shot that beat Quick through the five hole for his 25th goal of the season.
The second period was an absolute shooting gallery for the Canes. The scoring started 25 seconds into the period as Teravainen dropped a nifty pass to Jordan Staal, whose shot deflected off of Michael Ferland and past Quick. Jaccob Slavin joined the fun with a powerplay blast that beat Quick to make it 4-0 at the 2:19 mark of the period. Some beautiful passing between Staal and Ferland put Teravainen in a great position to finish off the play with a one-timer to make it 5-0. A slap shot from Hamilton found its way through Quick as Micheal Ferland made contact with Quick’s glove. The play was reviewed for possible goaltender interference, but the contact was judged to have occurred after the puck was already past Quick.
Of potentially more importance than the sixth goal of the night was Ferland’s health. He left the ice after appearing to injure his hand/wrist breaking his fall following the collision with Quick. Justin Faulk also left the game with an upper-body injury. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour did not have updates on either player in his post-game press conference.
Quick was pulled at the start of the third period. After Dustin Brown broke Petr Mrazek’s shutout bid at 12:02, the game got a bit chippy with a few questionable hits and a few game misconducts in the final five minutes of the game. Andrei Svechnikov took a nasty spill into the boards helped along by a push and cross-check from Dion Phaneuf. Svechnikov appeared to be in some discomfort but finished out the game without receiving any treatment.
The win closes out a stellar February for the Canes who went 10-3-0. Petr Mrazek recorded his fifteenth win of the year. He has allowed only seven goals in his last five starts, going 4-1 during that span.
With the Canes win, they now have 74 points in the standings. Pittsburgh defeated Columbus, which moves the Canes ahead of Columbus (73) by 1 point, while the Canes remain tied with Pittsburgh (74) but ahead of them in the standings due to having more wins instead of overtime losses. With the New York Islanders (79) losing tonight, the Canes now find themselves only 5 points out of the Metropolitan division lead.
Up Next: The Canes host the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. The Blues won ten straight after the all-star break, but have now dropped two of their last three.