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Necas' Speed and Skill on Display in Big Week

Necas named NHL's Third Star of the Week

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

Martin Necas had himself a week.

In four wins for the Carolina Hurricanes, Necas recorded two goals, including a game-winner in overtime, and five assists for a total of seven points, earning him national honors as the NHL's Third Star of the Week.

That has us feeling like Necas after he scored late in the second period against Detroit to tie the game at two (more on that later).

"It's nice to see, but I don't really think about that. It's just one week," Necas said on Monday afternoon. "I've got to be good week to week and keep playing like that next week as well."

It was a good week, though! So, let's take a trip back through the last four games and see how Necas shined for the Canes.

3-2 W (OT) at Florida on March 1: 1g, 2a

Necas' week began with a season-high three points (1g, 2a), including the game-winning goal in overtime, in a 3-2 final in Florida, this a game after scoring the deciding goal in the fifth round of the shootout against the same team.

His night began with two very similar secondary assists from along the right half-wall. The first was a power-play assist, as he helped swing the puck around the top of the Canes' formation and over to Brett Pesce for the first goal of the game.

Fast forward to late in regulation. With the Canes trailing by a goal, Alex Nedeljkovic scampered off the ice, and Necas hopped on for his first shift in eight minutes. The Canes established a similar formation in the offensive zone, and Necas positioned himself along the near half-wall again. This time, instead of working the puck across the top, he dished it down low to Nino Niederreiter, who one-touched a centering feed into the slot for Vincent Trocheck's game-tying tally.

Necas wasn't finished and ended the game on his next shift. Andrei Svechnikov executed a change as Dougie Hamilton regrouped with the puck. Necas hopped on the ice and circled back with Sebastian Aho into the defensive zone. Necas then started the puck up ice with speed. He gained the zone, cut to the center of the ice and laid the puck off for Aho. Aho carried it and threaded a pass through two defenders, right to Necas' tape for the tap-in winner.

Maybe the only thing better than that goal? The NHL 94-inspired celebration that followed.

4-2 W at Nashville on March 2: 1a

The next night in Nashville, Necas returned the favor to Aho to open the scoring in the first period.

Skating 4-on-4, Necas used his speed to pressure Roman Josi and force the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman to turn the puck over on a backhand clearing attempt. Necas gathered the loose puck, spun and fired a pass into the slot, where Aho was streaking in for the pretty one-time finish.

5-2 W vs. Detroit on March 4: 1g, 1a

Necas recorded his second multi-point effort in three games with a goal and an assist in the Canes' 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, a victory enjoyed by nearly 3,000 fans at PNC Arena.

Necas' goal was a critical and timely one, a late second period marker that would spring three more unanswered in the third period, propelling the Canes to their fourth straight win. The goal was also a perfect illustration of his skill, as he lasered a wrist shot through traffic, tucking it into the top corner of the net.

His assist? Well, sharing is caring, and they all count the same.

4-2 W vs. Florida on March 7: 1a

When Necas gets a head of steam coming up the ice, watch out. Against Florida on Sunday evening, he used his speed to carry the puck through the neutral zone and then attract a swath of defenders - really, four skaters began to converge on him before he casually got rid of the puck in transition. This opened up a prime shooting lane for Niederreiter, and he didn't miss.

What Have We Learned?

Martin Necas, the Canes' 12th overall draft pick from 2017, is only beginning to scratch the surface for what he can accomplish in the National Hockey League. He's won at every level, including helping the Charlotte Checkers capture the Calder Cup in 2019, and as his confidence grows in the NHL, so too does a spotlight shine brighter on his elite shooting and playmaking abilities.

"This is kind of the player you thought he was going to become," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "That other part you can't teach - that speed and skill, that stuff is coming to the forefront more and more, and that's what makes him special."

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