Sebastian Aho scored again on Sunday night. At 1:50 in the first period, he notched the first goal in the contest between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes. Not to be outdone, a couple of minutes later his teammate Teuvo Teravainen followed up with a goal of his own. The score was 2-0 in favor the ‘Canes, and some fans were still getting settled in their seats.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 19, 2017
By the time the final horn sounded, the Hurricanes had beaten the Islanders, 4-2. Aho ended up with a goal and two assists, and Teravainen had two goals and an assist. This dynamic duo has caught fire, and it could not have happened at a more opportune time.
With the quarter-pole that is the Thanksgiving weekend just days away, the Hurricanes are not so far behind that catching up and making the playoffs is a pipe dream. They are in the thick of what is a bunched-up Metropolitan Division. If Aho and Teravainen stay hot, the team’s trajectory looks to continue to climb.
The pair have had quite the week for the Hurricanes, and both have been white-hot. They have executed the kind of offense that, if continued long-term, will propel the team into the playoffs. Of course, there are a lot of games to be played before playoff determinations are made. But, a momentary daydream under the heading, “what if” leaves Hurricanes fans giddy with the possibilities of what their team could do if these two stay hot.
After Sunday night’s game, I asked Teravainen about how he was able to have such a solid week. He said,
“I feel good. It’s all about confidence I think. Our line is doing good right now, it’s kind of fun to make some plays.”
As a member of the media, and as a fan of hockey, I’ll say it’s kind of fun to watch him make some plays, too.
Teravainen Named First Star of the Week
Hurricanes television color analyst, Tripp Tracey was emphatic during Sunday night’s broadcast that Teravainen should be in the mix for one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the week. Monday, Teravainen was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week, an honor he earned without question. The press release from the Hurricanes says it all about Teravainen’s week:
Teravainen, 23, totaled 10 points (5g, 5a) and was plus-five in four games last week, as the Hurricanes went 3-1-0 with victories against the Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. The Helsinki native recorded his first career hat trick and added an assist against the Stars on Nov. 13, scoring three goals in a 7:05 stretch for the second-fastest natural hat trick in franchise history. He registered his fifth multi-point game of the season with a pair of assists in Carolina’s loss against the Islanders in Brooklyn, and earned the primary assist on Sebastian Aho’s game-winning goal on Friday in Buffalo. Teravainen capped the week by scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Hurricanes 4-2 win against the Islanders on Sunday.
Teravainen had an incredible week, and he deserves the recognition. But, his current linemate, Aho, had a pretty special week, himself.
Aho Finally Dialed-In
Last season it took a while for Aho to get hot. In fact, it was not until after the 13th game that Aho got his first goal as a member of the Hurricanes. Once he flipped the switch, however, he showed why he was playing in the NHL at age 19, and, at times, looked downright amazing. He wound up with 24 goals and 25 assists last season, including a marvelous hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 19, 2017
This week, Aho finally broke the ice with his first goal of the season, scoring against the Dallas Stars on November 13. He has scored in the three games since then, now riding a four-game goal-scoring streak. If last season is any kind of indicator, Aho could really become a problem for Hurricanes’ opponents. The natural ability that he has to find the net is something that cannot be taught. He is an instinctive goal-scorer, and, in a little over a year, has already proven his worth to the franchise. If the Hurricanes are going to continue to strive for a spot in the playoffs, they will definitely need Aho to be on fire and play to his potential.
Peters Probably Thankful
The “TSA Line” as it is referred to by the Hurricanes, consists of Teravainen, Jordan Staal, and Aho. They played well together last season and seem to have found their stride again here close to Thanksgiving. With teammates like Justin Williams and Jeff Skinner, and a stout defense with the likes of Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, and Jaccob Slavin, the team is put together well and should take a big step forward this season.
Seeing Aho and Teravainen on fire is most likely something head coach Bill Peters is thankful for at this time. While there was not a huge groundswell of sentiment to replace Peters, there were rumblings during the recent stretch when things were not going as well for the team. But, I have not blamed Peters, as I wrote Sunday, nor does he appear on my colleague Larry Fisher’s list of NHL coaches currently on the hot seat. Peters is a good coach, and having two of the hottest young players in the league right now helps him stay off those kinds of lists, and quiets the discontent surrounding his tenure at the helm of the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes play the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, and the Nashville Predators on Sunday. With five points separating the top from the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, the Hurricanes really must get points in the next three games. If Aho and Teravainen stay hot, that should be a very attainable goal.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.