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Recapping the Regular Season: February

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A team-record point streak, a busy trade deadline and an all-time great moment in Toronto highlighted a hectic February for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Month Record

6-5-2

H: 2-3-1

A: 4-2-1

Top Scorers

Sebastian Aho (11-7-18)

Andrei Svechnikov (5-8-13)

Jaccob Slavin (1-10-11)

Teuvo Teravainen (4-6-10)

Martin Necas (4-4-8)

Special Teams

PK - 83%

PP - 19.4%


The Month

The final full month of the NHL regular season came in February, as the Canes put in some impressive road performances to finish February 6-5-2 and 4-2-1 away from PNC Arena.

It was a busy month for Carolina on and off the ice. The team played 13 games in 29 days, while the front office made four deals over the month leading up to the trade deadline. Sebastian Aho went on a month-long, career-high point streak, and a Zamboni driver won a game in Toronto. More on those things later.

The Hurricanes’ first game of the month was an exciting one, as Carolina hosted Vancouver and came away with a 4-3 shootout win. The game-clinching shootout goal came from Justin Williams, his second shootout winner in just his fourth game of the season.

After losing a 6-3 affair in St. Louis, the Hurricanes picked up back-to-back road wins in Arizona and Vegas. The 5-3 win over the Coyotes featured two goals and an assist from Sebastian Aho, while the win in Vegas came in a shootout following a dramatic comeback thanks again to, you guessed it, Justin Williams.

A four-game road trip for the Canes concluded in a loss in Dallas, but the Canes bounced back with a 5-2 home win over the Devils in a 35-save effort from Petr Mrazek on his birthday.

Carolina lost a pair of home games to Edmonton and the Rangers, sandwiched around a 4-1 win in Nashville that featured three unanswered goals to end the game including this beauty from Andrei Svechnikov.

Then came the most wild game of the 2019-20 NHL season, and one of the coolest moments the hockey world has ever seen. On Feb. 22, the Canes went up to Toronto and came away with a 6-3 win. Warren Foegele scored twice while Martin Necas also had a multi-point game, but it was what happened in Carolina’s net that made all the headlines that week.

After Petr Mrazek and James Reimer both went down with injuries early in the game, the Canes were forced to turn to the Emergency Backup Goalie, David Ayres. The Zamboni-driving, 42-year old EBUG entered the net for the Canes and did the unthinkable; he won, in Toronto, stopping eight of the 10 shots he faced.

The Ayres story will never grow old, and it’s one of the coolest sports moments anyone has seen in a long time. For one evening in Toronto, a 42-year old got to live out his dream, and he did it in style.

While Ayres’ story and the celebration of the night was amazing, it was also an incredibly costly game for Carolina. Mrazek and Reimer had both been hurt, and both missed time. Mrazek missed a few weeks and made his return to the ice just in time for the NHL to get shut down, while Reimer didn’t make it back before the COVID-19 pause (though he will be ready when the season kicks back off).

The Canes also lost defenseman Brett Pesce that night in Toronto to a shoulder injury, one that sidelined him for the rest of the regular season and likely the upcoming playoffs as well. While Ayres stole the show and the spotlight, the Canes lost three important players to injury.

The Hurricanes ended February with three straight losses, as Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic filled in at goalie for Carolina.

The Canes picked up points in eight of 13 games in February, but fell a bit in the standings as the month came to a close. Carolina started the month in fifth place in the Metro and in possession of the East’s final wildcard. When February came to an end, the Canes sat sixth in the division and a point outside of the playoffs.

Sebastian Aho’s Point Streak

A big storyline on the ice throughout the entire month of February was a career-best 14-game point streak for Sebastian Aho, which started in January and lasted until the final game of February. The 14-game point streak was not only Aho’s longest, but the longest in Carolina Hurricanes history. It was also the third-longest point streak in franchise history and the third longest in the NHL in 2019-20.

Aho picked up an assist in a home win over Winnipeg on Jan. 21 to start the streak. He had a goal and an assist in a loss to Vegas on Jan. 31 to move it to two games heading into a new month.

Aho went on a six-game goal streak to start the month of February (a seven-game goal streak with the goal against Vegas to end January). He scored twice in a three-point game against Arizona, one of five multi-point games during his point streak. Here’s some highlights from Aho’s point streak, which ended in a loss to Montreal on Feb. 29.

The Trade Deadline

The other big part of February came off the ice, as the Hurricanes’ front office was busy as the trade deadline approached. The Canes made four trades in the month of February alone, bringing in some big names to help bolster things up.

The first trade was the smallest one, coming a week before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Carolina and the New York Rangers swapped prospects Julien Gauthier and Joey Keane, with the Canes bringing in the latter, a 20-year old defensemen. Keane didn’t play at all for the Canes this season, but he did show off his skill set some in Charlotte.

The Canes made three big deals on deadline day, bringing in two defensemen and a center. The first brought 2017 All-Star center Vincent Trochek to Raleigh from Florida, with the Hurricanes sending away Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, and prospects Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen.

In seven games with Carolina Trochek scored one goal and had one assist, though it is safe to assume he’ll play an important role with the team when things resume. Trochek racked up 282 points in 420 games over seven years with the Panthers.

Carolina completed two more trades just before the deadline came, bringing in defensemen Sami Vatanen and Brady Skjei. Carolina sent winger Janne Kuokkanen, defenseman Frederik Claesson and a conditional fourth-round pick (that they may not end up having to give up) to New Jersey for Vatanen, who was injured at the time and never saw the ice for the Canes before the season shut down.

Vatanen will be in the mix when the season resumes. He had 23 points in 47 games with the Devils this season, and he’ll be one of the more interesting pieces to watch for the Canes when play kicks back off.

In the other trade, the Hurricanes received Skjei from the Rangers in exchange for a first-round pick in this year’s draft, a pick that is still TBD with a placeholder team winning a top-three pick in the draft lottery.

Skjei was able to play in seven games for Carolina before the season ended, tallying one assist while playing over 20 minutes per game.