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Loaded Top Line Sparks Canes' Offense

Brind'Amour: 'They came to life'

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

LAS VEGAS - The Carolina Hurricanes needed a spark.

And what better way to ignite the offense than unite the team's three most skilled forwards?

Facing a 1-0 deficit heading into the second period on Thursday night in Arizona, head coach Rod Brind'Amour, on assistant coach Jeff Daniels' suggestion, tweaked the forward lines and loaded up with the trio of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen.

"They came to life," Brind'Amour said after practice on Friday. "It got us the win last night."

The line combined for four goals - two each for Svechnikov and Aho - and three assists, which fueled the Canes' run of four straight goals, including three in the second period.

"That line was pretty dynamic," Brind'Amour said after the game. "That was the difference in the game."

From the troika's first shift together in the second period, it seemed like the Canes had something brewing. Along with Brett Pesce and Jake Gardiner, they got pucks in behind the Coyotes' defense, controlled play in the offensive zone, hounded the puck when Arizona got possession and forced turnovers to swing play back the other way - all in about 50 seconds of game time.

"From the first shift, we got good momentum and a couple chances," Aho said.

After the Coyotes scored on the power play to take a 2-0 lead early in the second, Brind'Amour went back to Aho, Svechnikov and Teravainen on the bump-up shift. A minute later, they got the Canes on the board.

Aho had already rolled a change, and Teravainen was headed in that direction, too, as the Canes controlled the puck in the offensive zone. Haydn Fleury took a shot from the point, and Svechnikov chipped in the rebound on the doorstep.

Video: CAR@ARI: Svechnikov sweeps up Fleury's rebound

"That gives you a little boost in confidence, and we kept building on that," Aho said.

About six minutes later, Svechnikov scored what was basically an identical goal.

Video: CAR@ARI: Svechnikov pushes rebound past Raanta

"It's a little bit lucky, right?" Svechnikov said.

Maybe. But you don't create that sort of luck without going to the net.

"That's the whole key, right? Whether he's at the net or somebody else to create the seconds and thirds, that's what we need," Brind'Amour said. "That's today's game. You score on the power play, yeah, and you score on the rush, maybe, but in-zone, it's all getting to the net and getting pucks there."

On the line's first shift of the third period, though Svechnikov was denied his bid at a hat trick on a partial breakaway, he collected his own rebound and hit Aho for the follow-up tally.

Video: CAR@ARI: Aho puts home the feed from Svechnikov

Four straight goals for the Canes, sparked by the team's three best offensive players. Aho's empty-net goal in the final minute of the game sealed the 5-3 victory.

"We got some big plays," Brind'Amour said. "We definitely had a good push back when we got down."

It was no surprise, then, to see the line remain intact in practice on Friday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen remains a trio in #Canes practice this afternoon.

"They were good yesterday," Brind'Amour said.

Expect to see Svechnikov, Aho and Teravainen together when the puck drops against the Golden Knights on Saturday - but that could change by the second period, just as it did in Arizona.

"We've tried that [line] in the past quite a bit," Brind'Amour noted. "Every line like that kind of has a shelf life a little bit."

For now, though, the Canes will ride the dynamism of their three most threatening offensive talents. 

"It's super exciting to play with those guys," Svechnikov said.

It's super exciting to watch, too.

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