Necas powers Hurricanes' Stadium Series win

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The marching band rocked, the sellout crowd partied, and the Carolina Hurricanes had an unforgettable experience in their first outdoor game.

The Hurricanes scored early and rolled, defeating the Washington Capitals 4-1 in front of 56,961 at Carter-Finley Stadium in the 2023 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series on Saturday.
"I don't that it could be better so I'm happy we got one," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "If we never get another one that's OK because that was pretty special."

WSH@CAR: Stastny gives Hurricanes a 2-0 lead in 2nd

Martin Necas had a goal and two assists, and linemates Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (37-10-8), who heard the North Carolina State University marching band playing from their seats in the north end zone after each goal Carolina scored. Frederik Andersen made 24 saves and had an assist.
The Hurricanes have won three games in a row and are 12-1-1 in their past 14 dating to Jan. 12, including a 3-2 win at the Capitals on Tuesday.
"It was something that all of us will never forget, and obviously when you do win it feels much better," Necas said. "Every second of it was time you enjoy. You try to focus on the game, but you still feel the fans and the energy. It was my first outdoor game and it was unbelievable."
Tom Wilson scored after missing the previous seven games with a lower-body injury, and Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves for the Capitals (28-24-6).
Washington lost its fourth game in a row, all in regulation. The past three have come without captain Alex Ovechkin, who is away from the team because of the death of his father, Mikhail.
The Capitals lost an outdoor game for the first time (3-1-0).
"I think the only answer to get our swagger back is to get wins, and to get wins right now we need to play a playoff style," Washington forward T.J. Oshie said. "We're missing the big man [Ovechkin], we're missing (defenseman) John [Carlson]. We need to play a playoff-style hockey with the lineup we have to start winning games."

WSH@CAR: Necas rips a PPG for 3-0 lead in the 2nd

Carolina became the 28th team to play an outdoor game; the Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken, Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers are the four that haven't.
It was the NHL's 37th outdoor game, the 22nd at a football stadium and 13th in the Stadium Series. Home teams are 18-16-3, and the team that scores first is 20-12-5.
The Hurricanes did that, taking a 1-0 lead on Kotkaniemi's goal at 2:11 of the first period. He cut to the net from the left side, beat Matt Irwin to the slot and knocked in Teravainen's pass out of the right face-off circle.
"In a game like this you want to get the crowd into it, you want to get your team into it and try to take the pressure off," Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal said. "Big start to the game and going into the second up one was a good feeling. I thought we poured it a lot in that second and controlled the game from there."

WSH@CAR: Teravainen finishes give-and-go in the 2nd

The Hurricanes scored three goals on 12 shots and had a 31-10 advantage in shot attempts in the second period.
"They were the better team," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "They were faster. We couldn't get breakaway speed out of our end. We couldn't get through the neutral zone. They were quick to defend. We couldn't get off the walls, couldn't get to the front of the net. They played at a different gear and they won most of the battles as well."
Paul Stastny started it for Carolina in the second, scoring on the rebound of Jalen Chatfield's shot for a 2-0 lead at 5:47.
"It's another goal, but it's cool," Stastny said. "Scoring in a football stadium is always sweet."
Necas' power-play goal gave the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead at 8:48. He scored on a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Brent Burns.
Teravainen made it 4-0 at 11:17, scoring off a give-and-go with Necas. Andersen started the play with a long pass up to Teravainen.
"I thought we got through the first period OK," Laviolette said. "It still wasn't good. We didn't crank it up offensively like we would like to. But we got out of there. The second period is where it unraveled a little bit and we found ourselves just chasing them and chasing the game."

WSH@CAR: Kotkaniemi kicks off Stadium Series scoring

Wilson cut it to 4-1 at 10:32 of the third period with a twirling forehanded shot from the bottom of the left circle that went through Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei's legs.
But the Andersen and the Hurricanes locked it down from there to put the finishing touches on one of the most memorable nights in team history.
"The weather was unbelievable," Staal said, "the venue and the lights, it was just really cool and something I'll never forget being a part of. Just an amazing night."
NOTES: Capitals forward Lars Eller played his 926th NHL game, the most among Denmark-born players. He passed Frans Nielsen. … The Hurricanes are the 15th team to win in their first outdoor game. … North Carolina is the ninth U.S. state to host a Stadium Series game (California, Colorado, New York and Pennsylvania twice each; Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Tennessee once each). … Necas has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games. … Kotkaniemi has goals in back-to-back games and three in his past four. … Hurricanes video coach Chris Huffine, who has been with the team since it arrived in North Carolina from Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997-98, joined the coaching staff on the bench for the third period at the request of Brind'Amour. Huffine typically watches and documents the games from a video room, never from the bench. … It was 43.5 degrees at puck drop.