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Recap: Aho, Canes Tame Wild

Aho records hat trick, five points in 6-2 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

A hat trick and a career high five points from Sebastian Aho helped the Carolina Hurricanes roll past the Minnesota Wild, 6-2.

In addition to Aho's five-point night, which included an even-strength goal, a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal, Teuvo Teravainen posted three primary assists.

Here are five takeaways from Star Wars Night.

1. Bunch of Jedi

With big-time performances from big-time players, stellar special teams and a solid effort from up and down the lineup, the Hurricanes tamed the Wild, who had won five straight games and earned points in 11 straight.

"I just like the way the game felt the whole way. Even though we gave up one early, we were on it tonight," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Special teams were good, which helps. We had some huge kills. Overall, it was just solid by everyone."

The Canes celebrated with a Star Wars-themed Storm Surge, with players pairing off for "lightsaber" duels all over the ice.

Video: Star Wars Storm Surge

What a bunch of Jedi.

2. The Canes Strike Back

Minnesota was quicker off the hop and capitalized just 2:21 in when Ryan Donato scooped in his own rebound.

But, it didn't take long for the Hurricanes to settle in, and Lucas Wallmark finding the back of the net to tie the game at one certainly helped them do just that. From below the goal line, Ryan Dzingel spotted Wallmark cutting into the slot, out-pacing Victor Rask. Wallmark got the puck on his stick and roofed a shot over the flailing blocker arm of Alex Stalock.

Video: MIN@CAR: Wallmark goes top-shelf

From there, the Canes put it into hyperdrive.

With just about five minutes left in the first period, Andrei Svechnikov gave the Canes a 2-1 lead with his 13th goal of the season, a tap-in on a 5-on-3 advantage - the first of a number of examples of Teuvo Teravainen's passing prowess and the Canes' timely special teams success.

Video: MIN@CAR: Svechnikov tips in PPG for lead

"A lot of times it's put your best guys out there and make your plays," Brind'Amour said. "There are certain fundamentals you have on 5-on-3 and certain rotations, but at the end of the day, the guys have to make some plays. That was, obviously, a great play."

3. Jedi Master Aho

Sebastian Aho was one with the Force and the Force was with him.

Hats rained down as Aho found the back of the net thrice and added a pair of assists for his first career five-point night.

"I guess I try to score five points every night, but it's a little harder than that," Aho smiled.

The key to his career night? It wasn't coffee, but rather a gift from equipment manager Bob Gorman.

"He gave me these new shorts. That's huge," Aho said. "They were pretty good today."

The shorts were good, sure, but Aho was better.

He netted two goals in the second period, the first of which was a smooth blend of skill and precision. The sequence began with Teuvo Teravainen breaking up a Wild pass in the neutral zone, leading to a rush in the other direction. Aho dropped the puck off on the backhand to Teravainen before opening up his hips and gliding into open ice, where Teravainen hit him with a return pass for a one-timer that scored past Stalock.

Video: MIN@CAR: Aho's sizzling one-timer

"When you put one in the wheelhouse, that's the difference," Brind'Amour said. "The elite players pass it where it's a layup. That's basically what happened there."

Later in the period, Aho restored the Canes' two-goal lead as he cut to the net and deflected another perfectly-placed pass from Teravainen for the team's second power-play tally of the night.

Video: MIN@CAR: Aho deflects puck in for PPG

"It just shows how smart he is. Unbelievable passer," Aho said. "A couple tap-ins for me."

Aho completed the hat trick with about 80 seconds left in regulation, when he shimmied past Matt Dumba at one blue line and found the empty net at the other.

Video: MIN@CAR: Aho finds the empty net for hatty

4. The Turbo Awakens

After not recording a point in five straight games, Teuvo Teravainen posted three primary assists, each a gorgeous tape-to-tape pass for a quick-hitting goal.

The first, a seam pass to Svechnikov on the doorstep for an easy redirection.

"They were taking Dougie [Hamilton] away pretty good, so I thought I'd try to find some guys around the net," Teravainen said.

The second, the dish back to Aho for the one-timer, and the third, finding Aho open and cutting to the front of the net for another easy tap-in.

"We've been together so long now," Aho said. "It's pretty awesome to have him here. He's spent my whole NHL career with me, so it's pretty special."

"Overall, I think we're pretty good together. We just read each other pretty good. He's pretty fast, and he thinks fast on the ice," Teravainen said. "It feels easy sometimes."

Playmakers make plays, and that's what Teravainen did time and time and time again.

"The elite players know where everyone is on the ice," Brind'Amour said. "The best players, they don't need to look around. They know where everybody is. He's had that ability. It was special tonight, for sure."

5. Revenge of the Special Teams

Win the special teams game, win the game.

The Hurricanes finished the night 2-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal. Simply, that's the difference. But diving deeper into it, the timing of their special teams successes were critical, as well.

Mats Zuccarello scored a goal on an odd-man rush to bring the Wild within a goal, 2-1, about midway through the second period. Shortly after, the Canes were tasked with killing a holding the stick minor levied against Lucas Wallmark, who averages over a minute of shorthanded time on ice each game. The Canes were strong on the kill, blocking a shot and not allowing the Wild to get any pucks through to Petr Mrazek. A timely and important kill.

Shortly after, Aho and the Canes converted on a power play of their own to increase their lead to 4-2.

"There are always moments in the game where things can go sideways," Brind'Amour said. "The kills were huge."

Up Next

The Hurricanes embark on an extended five-game road trip that begins in Edmonton on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a long, tough road trip for us, so it was really good to get these points at home," Aho said. "We want to keep building on this."

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