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Recapping the Regular Season: January

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The Canes stayed at home, Dougie Hamilton was sidelined, Jaccob Slavin shined on the national spotlight and a familiar face returned to the locker room in the first month of 2020.

Winnipeg Jets v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Month Record

5-5-1

H: 5-3-1

A: 0-2-0

Top Scorers

Teuvo Teravainen (4-6-10)

Sebastian Aho (2-6-8)

Andrei Svechnikov (2-5-7)

Martin Necas (3-2-5)

Jake Gardiner (1-4-5)

Special Teams

PK - 87.9%

PP - 12.9%


The Canes stayed home for almost all of their first month of the new decade, as Carolina played nine of its 11 January games in PNC Arena. While the product on the ice was average, the Canes went 5-5-1 over the 31 days of January, the off-ice news surrounding the team was the story of the month.

The Hurricanes welcomed an old, familiar face back to the team, watched as a team-leading superstar fell with a gruesome injury and then saw his All-Star Game replacement shine in the skills competition night in St. Louis.

Carolina started 2020 out on a two-game skid, losing home games against Washington and Tampa Bay to kick off the calendar year. In the 4-3 loss to Washington the Canes netted two power-play goals, something that wouldn’t be telling of the rest of the month. By the time January was done, the Canes had just four tallies with a man advantage, and they would go from Jan. 3 against the Caps to Jan. 21 against Winnipeg without scoring a power-play goal.

The Canes followed up the two losses with an overtime win over Philadelphia on Jan. 7, as Dougie Hamilton netted the game winner in what would end up being one of the final games of his regular season.

While the overtime win over the Flyers was a much-needed victory for the Canes that night, it was hardly the biggest story. Rumors swirled during the game with Justin Williams in attendance up in Tom Dundon’s box, and it was confirmed after the game that Williams would be rejoining the Hurricanes for the homestretch of the season.

The next day in PNC, the Canes officially reintroduced Williams in a news conference with the Canes’ former captain, Dundon and GM Don Waddell. His return to the ice would take a couple of weeks, but the Hurricanes had a veteran leader back in the locker room.

Kaydee Gawlik

The first game after the Williams announcement was a 3-0 win at home over the Coyotes, which featured goals from Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark and Martin Necas. That day Teuvo Teravainen was announced as the Hurricanes’ candidate for the “Last Men In” voting for the All-Star Game, though he would ultimately lose the Metropolitan Division spot to T.J. Oshie.

The Canes finished off the 2020-opening five-game home stand with a 2-0 win over the Kings on Whaler’s Night, which featured tallies from Nino Niederreiter and Teuvo Teravainen.

For the first time in 2020 the Canes went on the road for the next two games, losing both. The first loss was a 2-0 stumble in Washington against the Capitals, which was followed up by a 3-2 loss in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. While those losses weren’t great for the Canes, the road trip brought with it a far worse loss for the team than the ones in the standings.

In the Jan. 16 game against the Blue Jackets, Hamilton took a nasty fall in the second period that broke his leg and ended his regular season. At the time, Hamilton was playing out of his mind. He was a front runner for the Norris Trophy, and he had been an offensive and defensive catalyst for the Canes all season.

The loss was immense, and something the Hurricanes had to learn to deal with in a hurry. The Canes returned home the next day and suffered an overtime loss to the Ducks, as they were playing without their overtime goal leader, Hamilton.

The good news that day came for Jaccob Slavin, who made his first All-Star roster albeit at the loss of his teammate Hamilton.

The Canes bounced back from the three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins heading into the All-Star break, with an exciting shootout win over the Islanders that featured some heroics from Williams in his first game back.

After seven shootout attempts from both teams, Williams stepped up and buried his shot past Thomas Greiss to give the Canes the advantage. James Reimer shut down Anders Lee on the next shot, cementing Williams’ game winner in his first game back.

Williams was the star of the Canes’ next win as well, as he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg to head into the All-Star break.

At the All-Star Game in St. Louis, Slavin put on a show in the skills competition Friday night. Participating in the Accuracy Shooting contest, Slavin put together a beautiful round to take home the trophy.

The next day in the All-Star Game, Slavin and the Metropolitan Division fell to the Atlantic Division 9-5 in the first semifinal. Slavin had no points.

Carolina played just one game in January following the All-Star break, a 4-3 home loss to Vegas that saw Sebastian Aho tie the game late in the third before Vegas almost immediately answered back with the game winner.

There was some good and some bad for the Canes in January. Carolina started the month in fourth place in the Metro and in sole possession of the Eastern Conference’s top wildcard spot. At the end of the month, the Canes were fifth in the division and tied on points with Toronto for the final wildcard spot.

The Hurricanes got a great addition in Williams during the month, but suffered an even greater loss in Hamilton. The silver lining to the whirlwind that has been the last few months for the Canes is the availability of Hamilton, who will be ready to play when hockey resumes.