Necas Does it Again
If you thought that Martin Necas netting the overtime winner against the Dallas Stars was pretty cool when he did it back in December, you’ll love what he did last night.
As calm and collected as ever, Necas just wore out the Dallas skaters by playing an elaborate game of keep away going in the offensive zone, before flipping the switch and ending it.
With the overtime winner, Necas also set a new career high for points in a season with 42, doing it in just 47 games. His 19th goal of the season also tied Andrei Svechnikov for the team lead.
Necas’ breakout season has been a long time coming and now that he’s finally arrived, Carolina is reaping in the benefits.
With his steal and score in the first period last night, Sebastian Aho scored the ninth shorthanded goal of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes, and tied Eric Staal for the franchise record with 16.
Aho has been a dominant force when shorthanded because of his speed and tenacity, which many power plays underestimate.
“He’s dynamic in open ice,” Rod Brind’Amour said on his Finnish star. “He can really read the play as far as that anticipation for when to pick off a pass and go the other way. And then you’re usually out there with guys that aren’t thinking defense and you give him a little room... He probably should have a lot more. He’s had a ton of chances shorthanded. He’s a weapon there.”
In just six and a half seasons, Aho has surpassed most shorthanded scoring records, and truth be told, he’s really done it in just four and a half, as his total shorthanded ice time for his first two seasons totaled out to 20:42. (Despite that he still managed to score his first SHG in his rookie season).
And if anybody is curious about the franchise record for most shorthanded goals scored in a season, both by a team and individual...
Most in a single season (team) - 17; 2005-06
Most in a single season (individual) - 5; Kevyn Adams; 2003-04
Goaltending Successes and Concerns
The Good: Antti Raanta looked stellar in his relief effort for Frederik Andersen, turning aside all 15 shots he faced, despite not having seen game action in over two weeks.
“It’s a tough spot to come in obviously when you’re cold and on the bench, but he’s been around,” Brind’Amour said. “He knows that that’s part of his job and obviously he did well.”
The Bad: Andersen left the game with an upper-body injury after just a single period of play.
Andersen had been great in his return to the ice, with a 4-0-0 record and 0.942 save percentage, so the Canes have to hope it’s just something minor.
Things just haven’t been going well for the Hurricanes when it comes to goaltending, with all three goaltenders that have seen game action this season having missed time due to injuries.
If Andersen is indeed on the shelf again, expect Pyotr Kochetkov to get the recall. He’s 2-1-0 in three starts since returning to the Wolves with a 0.893 save percentage.
Luckily for the Canes, Raanta has looked solid and the team has come away with at least a point in each of his last 11 games (9-0-2).
Hopefully the goaltending position can stabilize itself at some point this season.
Additional Game Notes
- The Jordan Staal line had yet another dominant performance. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the trio outchanced their opponents 13-1 at 5v5 and facilitated a goal.
- Sebastian Aho’s SHG was also the 200th of his career, making him the third played from the 2015 draft to hit that milestone and just the 10th Finnish player ever to reach it.
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi got the bump up back to the second line between Necas and Svechnikov late in the game. He’s been playing some really strong hockey as of late, and hopefully he stays up there for a while because that’s when Svech and Necas were playing their best hockey.
Stadium Series Jerseys Revealed
This morning, the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals officially revealed the jerseys for the upcoming Stadium Series game on February 18.
The Bigger The Better— adidas Hockey (@adidashockey) January 26, 2023
Introducing the @Canes and @Capitals 2023 @NHL #StadiumSeries jerseys. With super-sized graphics, you won’t be able to miss ‘em. Catch them live on-ice February 18th.#adidasHockey x @NHL pic.twitter.com/1VA4T7BrlS
What do you all think of these jerseys?