It isn’t always about how you start that’s important, it’s about how you finish.
Not often will a team be up 2-0 less than four minutes in, but the Hurricanes got off to a hot start thanks in large part to the hard work of the Jordan Staal line.
It was the same formula that it’s always been for them. Go to work down low, cycle the puck up top, get traffic in front and repeat.
So when the puck popped out to Jalen Chatfield’s stick, he waited long enough for the net-front screen to develop and Staal got the wood on it to redirect it past Isles’ goalie Ilya Sorokin, just 44 seconds into the contest.
And then just three minutes after that, Jordan Staal jumped on a passing attempt and took off running on a 2-on-1 with Jesper Fast. He pulled the puck to his backhand and sauced it to the Fast for the bury.
We scored 2 goals in the first 4 minutes.— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 22, 2023
Is that good? pic.twitter.com/BuIqyB4z9w
But the Islanders managed to regroup and tied the game late in the first period with two quick strike goals, so it was back to even heading into the second period.
And that’s where the duel of the Sebastian Ahos began, where ultimately, the Finnish Sebastian Aho proved his dominance over the namesake, and it really didn’t end well for the Swedish Sebastian Aho.
Aho essentially took over the end of the game, picking up his second hat trick of the season — the sixth of his career, the first on the road and his first ever natural hat trick.
His first goal was a perfectly placed pass by linemate Teuvo Teravainen, who threaded it right to Aho’s blade through two Islanders’ defensemen — one of them being Sebastian Aho — for the redirection goal.
The second goal saw Aho flex his reflexes and knock down an attempted cross-ice pass from Sebastian Aho, leaving him in alone with Sorokin where he ripped it by the Russian netminder.
Finally, the third goal was just a determined effort with New York pushing hard with the extra attacker and net empty. The puck popped loose off of a faceoff and Teravainen sent him to the races.
Aho dug in and beat out Noah Dobson — despite getting tripped en route to the net — and he got the puck on net for the hat trick and dagger.
Sixth career hatty for Fishy pic.twitter.com/fYUuVwA4z6— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 22, 2023
So that brings the final count to...
Sebastian Aho (Finnish): 3 goals, 3 hits, 3 takeaways, 2 blocks
Sebastian Aho (Swedish): a minus three
Decision - Sebastian Aho
- Jaccob Slavin did not play due to a lower-body injury (which isn’t considered serious), and so Jalen Chatfield got the bump up to the top pair with Brent Burns. In 20:24 of ice time and 2:14 of that shorthanded, Chatfield registered an assist — he now has five points in his last five games — and was a plus 4, seeing no goals against.
- The fourth line of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Derek Stepan and Stefan Noesen dominated against the Islanders, finishing with a 90.91 CF% according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
- Frederik Andersen was dynamite yet again last night, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced to move himself to 4-0-0 since returning from injury. In that span, he has a 0.942 save percentage and 1.75 goals against average.
- The special teams disparity continues to grow. While the PK was a perfect 2-for-2, the PP was 0-for-3.
- While he hasn’t had a great season by any stretch of the imagination, Dylan Coghlan had himself a good game. He had three shots, drew a power play and had a 73.33 CF%.