Cary, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes played their best game of the season against a top team in the Metropolitan Division, the Washington Capitals, winning in a dominant fashion, 5-1 in front of a loud crowd on Saturday November 12 at the PNC Arena.
The loss was the Caps worst of the season and if the Canes put this type of effort on the ice every game, the playoff drought will end and the Caniacs will again be filling the seats.
Aho Nets First NHL Goal
Coach Bill Peters starting the Rask-Skinner-Stempniak line against the Caps top line of Backstrom-Ovechkin-Oshie seemed a little odd as Jordan Staal is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL and the Caps top line is as powerful as they get. By the end of the game there’s a reason Peters is the coach and I’m not as that strategy proved to be spot on as the Caps top line was held scoreless.
The game started with Cam Ward and Philipp Grubauer trying to out-do each other with great save after great save. Ward was very aggressive coming out of the goal so much at one point he was eight feet out of the crease cutting down the angle. The Canes had plenty of chances on the games first powerplay doing everything but put the puck in the net. Elias Lindholm was using his strength and skill in the corner going back and forth several times sending a perfect pass to Brock McGinn right on the door step but was too close to knock it in. Right after the man advantage, the Caps came down the ice too easily and the Canes only major error of the game of no coverage left Ward out to dry as Dmitry Orlov scored for the 1-0 Cap lead.
The Canes quickly regrouped and in less than 30 seconds later as Klas Dahlbeck sent the puck hard behind the Caps’ net. Aho passed up to Teravainen who made a quick centering pass to Staal. Staal made a one-timer that Grubauer kicked out. Aho coming from behind the net picked up the loose change then whipped it in the net for his first NHL goal. Less than five minutes later, Jaccob Slavin kept the puck in the zone, touching it lightly to Aho a few feet away. Aho passed down to Staal along the boards who made a behind the back-through the legs pass back to Aho who centered to Teravanien in the slot for a quick wrister into the back of the net to give the Canes a 2-1 lead.
Staal, Rask Put Canes Up 4-1
The Canes continued their dominance in the second as Staal scored a powerplay goal off a rebound that was shot by Lindholm. Later in the period Dahlbeck took a hard slapshot from the right point that went wide of the net. Victor Rask was tightly guarded along on the left post but somehow put the rebound off the lively boards into the net for a commanding 4-1 lead.
Washington continued to use its speed and strength to get back into the game but the Canes young defensemen and Ward all played collectively their best game of the season.
Solid Team Win
The Canes entered the third with a three goal lead, which hasn’t led to a win as often as it should so there was no taking the foot off the gas. Washington did play the night before and by the third period it started to show, as their shifts were noticeably shorter and the Canes faster on loose pucks.
The call-ups from the Checkers: McGinn, Derek Ryan and Matt Tennyson all had excellent games. McGinn does play with a chip on his shoulders (which is a good thing), Ryan is a skilled playmaker and Tennyson is a no-nonsense type defender that also has a good shot having scored a hat trick the night before with the Checkers.
With a little over four minutes left, the Caps pulled their goalie and the Canes wasted no time making that backfire. First, Aho missed an open net just as a defender was pouncing on him but the Canes were able to keep the puck in the Caps end. Teravanien was along the half boards, whipped a shot headed either just under the pipe or was going to hit the pipe but Aho was there to deflect the puck in just to make sure to seal the game, 5-1 for a great win against a top team.
Next game is Tuesday against San Jose. Be There!