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Recap: Aho Scores Two in Canes' OT Win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Analysis from Raleigh

Sebastian Aho's second goal of the game iced the Boston Bruins 4-3 in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes opened their four-game homestand by snagging two points against an Eastern Conference opponent.

"I'm feeling pretty good. Two points for the team," Aho said. "I'm happy right now."

Video: Aho lights the lamp in OT to give 'Canes a 4-3 win

→ Aho tallied the Hurricanes' first goal and the team's last goal of the game, both very important given the circumstances.

His first goal drew the score even at one not even three minutes into the middle stanza. Aho and Lee Stempniak entered the Bruins' zone on a partial break. The two couldn't convert, but the Canes maintained possession, and the puck would find its way up the wall to Jaccob Slavin at the point. Aho went to the top of the blue paint and got a stick on Slavin's shot to direct it past Zane McIntyre.

Boston challenged the goal on the grounds of goaltender interference, but officials ruled that defenseman Brandon Carlo shoved Aho into McIntyre, causing contact. It was a good goal, and the Canes were on the board.

"I tried to get a piece of the puck and stay out of the goalie crease," Aho said.

"We've got to get in front of the goaltender's eyes to create some havoc, and looking at that first goal, that's exactly what Sebastian did," Cam Ward said. "[Aho] is just showing a lot of confidence and a lot of poise. For his age, that's very impressive."

In overtime. Aho accepted a pass from Finnish linemate Teuvo Teravainen, patiently waited for a screen to develop and fired the puck to the back of the net.

"Steady progression in his development. Hanging on to pucks and making plays," head coach Bill Peters said of Aho's game. "He's responsible defensively. He doesn't have to cheat to generate offense. He's got pride away from the puck."

→ A back-and-forth third period forced overtime for the third time in as many games between the Bruins and Hurricanes this season.

David Backes' rebound goal tied the score at two early in the third period. Less than two minutes later, the Hurricanes regained the lead on a bang-bang play, as Viktor Stalberg, from behind the net, fed Jay McClement in the slot, his second goal in three games. It took Boston just 23 seconds to tie the game again, when Brad Marchand's wrister from the left circle beat Ward through a screen.

"I felt like we were in a really good spot, but they obviously are a good team and are going to push, too," Ward said. "Heading into overtime, anything can happen."

"We never got any wiggle room," Peters said. "We were down, up one, tied, up one briefly … so the game is hanging in the balance pretty much all night."

Video: Hear from Aho, Ward, McClement, and Peters after win

→ While the game was closely contested all night, Ward was a difference maker in his crease. In the second period, he stoned an old teammate, Riley Nash, on a point-black pad save to keep the score 1-1.

"It's a little bit of desperation and a little old-school still left in me with the kick save," Ward said. "You don't see too many of those anymore."

In total, Ward made 32 saves in his 16th consecutive start.

"A couple big saves by Wardo. He was great today," Aho said. "He gave us a chance to win this game."

"Wardo battled in there. There were a lot of rebounds and deflections. I thought Wardo did a real good job," Peters said. "He made some big saves and some big saves at key times."

→ A two-goal second period gave set the Hurricanes up with a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.

Aho's first goal evened the score early, and with just about five minutes left in the period, Jordan Staal and Derek Ryan skated off on a 2-on-1 rush. Staal delivered the puck to Ryan, who then slid the frozen biscuit under the outstretched pad of McIntyre.

→ The Hurricanes killed off their only assessed penalty of the game, a tripping call levied against Stepmniak. On the man disadvantage, Staal had two breakaway attempts thwarted. First, he was sprung by Joakim Nordstrom, and McIntyre made a pad save. Seconds later, he intercepted the puck at the blue line and steamed through the defenders, only to be turned away again by McIntyre's shoulder.

"We killed the penalty, but we were also dangerous at the same time," Peters said. "[Staal] was big-time gassed, but did a great job creating those breakaways. His skating ability as a big man, he gets a half-step on you and gets separation."

→ Boston opened the scoring in the first period, as Nash thieved Ward behind the net when the Canes' goaltender left his crease to play the puck. Dominic Moore then dished off to Tim Schaller, who spun off the defense of Matt Tennyson to backhand the puck in.

→ The Hurricanes' four-game homestand continues on Tuesday when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town, the first of three meetings between the two teams in a span of 12 days.

"We've got to keep piling on points, especially at home," McClement said. "We've got to take care of our home games."

"We're going to dial in and push hard," Peters said. "We need to point some points in the bank here at home."

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