Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour made a slight tweak to the lineup before their Feb. 16 contest against the Montreal Canadiens. He decided to move Andrei Svechnikov up to the first line alongside Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis while moving Teuvo Teravainen down to the second line with Martin Necas and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Carolina has played nine periods since the move took place and the early returns have been phenomenal so far. Teravainen has produced two goals and three assists during this period while Svechnikov has added two goals and four assists.
This move has helped the Hurricanes move their winning streak to four games as they continue to lead the Metropolitan Division with a 38-10-8 record (84 points). In addition to the immediate solid play by the players at the center of this altering of the lineup, the change has also been beneficial to the other members of the Hurricanes’ top-six early on. Jarvis leads the group with four goals scored in the three-game stretch, and each member has produced at least one goal and one assist during the short sample size. This move could prove to be extremely beneficial for Carolina down the stretch of the regular season with the postseason lurking.
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Teravainen Getting Back to Form
After struggling for the majority of the season since returning from an upper-body injury Teravainen appeared to find something before the All-Star Break. He’s kept things rolling adding three goals and three assists in the five games since the second half of the season got underway. I believe the move by Brind’Amour expedited Tereavainen’s return to form, as the Finnish forward has shined alongside Necas and Kotkaniemi.
I expect Carolina to continue rolling out this lineup for the foreseeable future and I would be surprised if Teravainen doesn’t keep producing at a higher level. His performance down the stretch will be a key factor in determining how strong of a team the Hurricanes will have heading into the postseason.
Necas Continues to Excel
I doubt there are many people out there who expected Necas to lead the Hurricanes in points after 56 games played, however, the Czech forward continues to be a consistent force and leads the team with 51 points (22 goals and 29 assists). His confidence continues to be on full display as he has already surpassed a career-high with 174 shots, only trailing Svechnikov who has fired 182. After struggling to find the back of the net at a consistent rate last season, Necas has completely flipped the script and improved his shooting percentage from 8.8 in 2021-22 to 12.6 so far this season.
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Without the consistent level of production from Necas this season who knows where the Hurricanes would be. Throughout the time missed by Aho, Teravainen, Pacioretty, and others this season, Necas has helped keep the offense rolling no matter who is on the ice with him. It’s truly remarkable to see the leap he’s made in just one season after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.
Depth is Key
The Hurricanes have a plethora of depth at the forward position, which has helped them overcome the loss of Pacioretty and minor injuries to Aho and Teravainen without skipping a beat. While they might not have a player on the list of the top-20 goal scorers they do have arguably the strongest top-six and overall forward group in the entire league. This depth helps them overcome slumps from particular players with ease as someone is always there to step up. It’s truly an offense-by-committee approach that helps keep the Hurricanes rolling.
It will be fascinating to watch how this recipe for success works for Carolina down the stretch and throughout the postseason. If the Hurricanes’ new lineup keeps finding success there’s no doubt they will continue to be one of the Stanley Cup favorites.