Two weeks ago, Martin Necas was taking an unwanted weekend off.
The Canes’ young winger missed out on a deserved trip to the All-Star Game, despite career numbers that more than warranted selection.
But Saturday night in Carter-Finley Stadium, with the eyes of the NHL on an electric Stadium Series atmosphere years in the making for the Hurricanes, Necas stole the show as the Canes beat the Washington Capitals 4-1.
He finished the game with three points, scoring a snipe on the power play in the second period while assisting on a pair of Carolina goals. But beyond just filling up the stat sheet, Necas was absolutely dynamite from the very first drop of the puck.
On a playing surface far different than what NHl players are used to, Necas flew. His speed and energy was noticeable, as it was clear from his first shift of the game he wasn’t going to let a unique opportunity on a special stage go by without making the absolute most of it.
“This game was pretty special,” Necas said. “The fans were unbelievable. I really enjoyed every second of it. It was a special night.”
In the first period, Necas nearly brought the stadium down with a move that very few in the NHL would be brazen enough to even try. He collected the puck, skated backwards towards the Washington net, went between the legs and so nearly scored the goal of the season in an outdoor game.
“Yeah, I should probably stop doing that,” Necas said. “I really felt the energy from the fans. I didn’t feel tired at all out there. We were playing the game we wanted to play.”
And while the end result was the same as any other goalless trip down the ice, it was a move that showed early just how much confidence, energy and enthusiasm the Czech winger was playing with in front of 57,000 strong in Carter-Finley.
In the second period, Necas got his goal. With the Hurricanes on the power play, Necas blasted a one-timer past Kuemper that the Washington netminder never had a chance on. Carter-Finley exploded, and Necas celebrated a truly special goal.
Marty Necas UNLOADED on this pic.twitter.com/oYO63viyP2— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 19, 2023
Necas, who already had a secondary assist in the first period, picked up another on an excellent little play by the Hurricanes, as he had a nice give-and-go with Teuvo Teravainen to eventually set up his linemate to make it 4-0.
What a saucy give-and-go for the Teravainen goal pic.twitter.com/a4PQSBymgy— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 19, 2023
“You can see it. He’s playing good,” Teravainen said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s creating a lot of stuff out there. That’s for sure good.”
And with all that excellence, Necas stole the show on the biggest regular season stage he has ever played. He was fast. He was confident. He was excellent, and he was a major reason the Hurricanes dominated the Capitals so overwhelmingly in the biggest regular season game in the history of the franchise.
“He’s been doing it all year,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “We seem to talk about him almost every other night in the same light. He’s looking like he’s been around the league forever. I knew it was in him. We all knew it was there. Now he’s really starting to show it. It’s great for him to show it on a big stage like this.”
Martin Necas may not have been an All-Star in 2022-23. But he got his signature moment and game in front of the most people he’s ever played in front of. And it’s a moment that will stay with him forever
“It’s a moment all of us won’t ever forget,” Necas said. “It’s a proud moment. It’s something that we play for.”