Aho’s 1st hat trick helps Hurricanes beat Flyers to end skid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) It took Sebastian Aho nearly a month to score a goal in the NHL. Since then, the 19-year-old Finn has more than made up for his slow start.
Aho had his first career hat trick and added an assist Tuesday night, sparking the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The win snapped a five-game slide for Carolina – with all the losses in regulation – and ended Philadelphia’s three-game winning streak.
”(Aho) is a good player,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. ”Credit to him at a young age to be able to get acclimated to the NHL game and to North America. He’s a smart player and a competitive kid.”
Aho, the Hurricanes’ second-round pick (35th overall) in the 2015 draft, became the first Carolina rookie to record a hat trick since Erik Cole during the 2001-02 season. It was the third multiple-goal game this season for Aho, who has 15 goals and 15 assists.
”It was a fun night, with the atmosphere out there,” said Aho, who thought it was his first hat trick as a pro. ”Every two points (in the standings) are important. When you score one goal, it’s easier to have the confidence to score the next one.”
Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk, the Hurricanes’ only representative for the winning Metropolitan Division in Sunday’s All-Star Game, also scored for Carolina. Skinner broke a string of six games without a point.
Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen each had two assists for the Hurricanes, who improved to 6-0 in their alternate black jerseys. Cam Ward stopped 15 shots in the win.
Brayden Schenn scored his 100th NHL goal, all for Philadelphia, on a power play in the third period. Steve Mason made 23 saves for the Flyers.
Philadelphia had won the first two meetings this season, but the Hurricanes are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against the Flyers in Raleigh.
”That was a disappointing way to start coming off the break,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ”It’s going to be one game we address from top to bottom and get back to it tomorrow. We knew (Carolina) started very hard with intensity in this building, and they continued that through most of the 60 minutes.”
The Hurricanes led 2-0 after a penalty-free first in which they outshot the Flyers 8-4.
Aho put Carolina ahead at 7:11, taking a pass from Jordan Staal and skating across the crease before beating Mason glove side.
Aho scored his second goal at 16:37, taking Lindholm’s return pass on the right doorstep and beating Mason stick side.
Skinner made it 3-0 at 16:28 of the second. He was on the receiving end of Lee Stempniak’s pass from behind the net to the left circle and slammed the puck past Mason stick side.
”It’s nice to contribute to the win,” said Skinner, who picked up his 18th goal of the season. ”When you go that long without producing it can get a little frustrating, especially when the team’s not winning. It’s part of my role to produce and help the team win, and we weren’t doing that over the last little while. But (Stempniak) made a nice pass to me, and it’s good to get one in.”
Aho completed the hat trick on a power play at 18:05, going to the upper right corner of the cage from the left circle on Lindholm’s feed from behind the net.
Faulk made it 5-0 during a 5-on-3 power play at 5:10 of the third, scoring from the right point with Aho getting the primary assist.
”I didn’t think our guys were nervous. I thought we had a good practice yesterday and a good skate this morning,” Peters said.
Schenn scored on a power play at 10:27. Shayne Gostisbehere got the primary assist.
NOTES: Flyers D Michael Del Zotto (lower body) missed his fourth straight game, while RW Dale Weisz and D Nick Schultz were healthy scratches. … RW Ty Rattie, D Ryan Murphy and D Matt Tennyson were healthy extras for Carolina. … Eddie Lack was dressed as Carolina’s backup goalie for the first time since Dec. 30 (concussion). … Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour played nine seasons with the Flyers. … The five-game season series resumes in Philadelphia on March 19 and in the regular-season finale on April 9. … Staal skated in his 300th game for Carolina.
Flyers: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday to start a five-game homestand.
Hurricanes: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.