Aho gets 2nd goal in OT, Hurricanes beat Wild 5-4
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — In their first year under new coach Rod Brind’Amour, the Carolina Hurricanes are using their youth and speed to wear out opponents.
They started by outshooting Minnesota 20-5 in the first period Saturday. After a back-and-forth third period, Carolina showed off its stamina, too.
“The message has been pretty clear from Day 1, and I think they’ve been doing what we’ve asked, or they’re trying to, and I think they see that it’s a fun way to play,” Brind’Amour said. “But it’s also a way that can have outcomes like tonight where we can come back.”
Justin Williams tied the game for Carolina with 1:09 left in the third period, and the Hurricanes matched the best five-game start in franchise history by tying the 4-0-1 Hartford Whalers in 1995-96.
Aho added an assist while running his point streak to five games. Jordan Staal and Brett Pesce also scored for the Hurricanes. Curtis McElhinney made 19 saves as Carolina outshot Minnesota 57-23 and survived a third-period frenzy in which the Wild rallied to twice take a one-goal lead.
The Hurricanes entered the game averaging 38.5 shots per game, second in the NHL. Their 4.25 goals per game coming in was tied for sixth after they were 23rd in the league last season.
“To be down twice in the third period, that’s tough, and maybe that’s something that last year or the year before, maybe we would’ve just wilted and packed it in and said ‘All right, good try,'” Williams said. “But our power play showed up and we scored one late. So, a really good win that we would’ve been upset if we lost.”
Devan Dubnyk stopped 52 shots for Minnesota and Jason Zucker scored his 100th career goal and third in the past two games. Charlie Coyle, Jared Spurgeon and Mikael Granlund also scored for the Wild, who played their third consecutive overtime game.
“In a realistic world, you’re happy you got a point out of that,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If it wasn’t for Devan Dubnyk; he’s been our No. 1 star in all four games that he’s played.”
Dubnyk’s work allowed Minnesota the chance to recover in the third. It’s the second game this season and 14th time in his career he’s made at least 40 saves in game. He’s 10-1-3 in those contests.
Staal opened the scoring midway through the first with his fourth goal, the only tally in the first for Carolina despite the shot advantage and a pair of power-plays, including a 5-on-3 situation. Coyle’s first goal of the season tied the game through one period.
“We’re horrible in the first period right now, and that’s myself included, that’s everybody,” Zucker said. “We got to be better. We got to fix it.”
Pesce redirected Aho’s shot for the only goal in the second as Carolina entered the third leading 2-1.
Spurgeon tied it with his first goal of the season just 1:20 into the third period, Zucker scored just over four minutes later and Granlund added his first of the season with 4:13 left in the game.
Aho’s first goal erased the first lead from Zucker’s goal.
“I think it tells something about us, coming back twice and get the win,” Aho said. “Also our (power play) has been bad all year and we haven’t scored, and when we need it most, we score. It feels good.”
The Hurricanes were 1 of 9 on the power play Saturday after entering the game 1 of 10 for the season.
NOTES: Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said F Joel Eriksson Ek has a lower-body injury and will miss a week. … Matt Hendricks was back in the lineup for the Wild after being scratched for one game. … Minnesota is 10-3-4 in its last 17 games against Carolina. … Aho has four goals and five assists during his point streak. Hurricanes F Teuvo Teravainen has points in four straight games. … McIlhenny became the first Carolina goaltender to win his first three starts with the team since Justin Peters in 2010.
Hurricanes: Finish a back-to-back set at Winnipeg on Sunday.
Wild: Travel to Nashville on Monday.