Hurricanes ‘Finnish’ Stars off 5-1

Chris Baird, Triangle Sports Network
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Teravainen nets hat trick, Aho scores first goal of season

By Peter Koutroumpis

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes provided the knockout punches, a flurry of them, in the final period, and posted a decisive 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars at PNC Arena on Monday.

It was the Finnish duo of Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho who led the Hurricanes, with Jeff Skinner adding one late.

Goalkeeper Scott Darling’s 25-save performance backstopped the win that highlighted milestones for the Hurricanes’ top offensive line of the night.

Teravainen recorded first career hat trick, scoring his fourth, fifth, and sixth goals of the season in succession, while Jordan Staal was involved on all of them and set up Aho to finish with a career-high four assists in a game.

Alexander Radulov scored the lone goal for the Stars while Ben Bishop took the loss on a 23-save effort.

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Struggling to score through 15 games, Aho showed his emotion when he tallied his first goal of the season.

“It feels pretty good,” he said afterwards.

The postgame scrum comment was a much more modest reaction than the screaming and fist-pumping celebration he showed on the ice.

Aho’s marker put Carolina ahead 1-0 at 8:44 of the first period on a cross-ice feed from Staal.

After Teravainen broke up a Dallas possession in the Hurricanes zone, Staal rushed the puck up along the left-side boards and dodged a falling Esa Lindell before sliding the puck into the slot as Aho had gotten a step on Dallas’ other defenseman, John Klingberg.

With no one to beat but Bishop, Aho subtly went backhand-forehand-backhand and slid the puck between the Stars netminder’s pads.

“It was good for him to get one,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.

“The guys were happy for him. I don’t know who was happier, them collectively as a group on the bench, or himself. He’s been playin’ well. You knew it was going to come.”

Carolina carried its one-goal advantage into the second period.

Radulov evened the score at 8:44 on a play initiated by Jamie Benn and put away a feed from Tyler Seguin.

Both teams continued to skate hard and carried a 1-1 deadlock into the final regulation period.

Teravainen’s shot from the top of the left circle on the power play quickly put the Hurricanes ahead 2-1 at the 2:39 mark.

Off the rush, Teravainen then queued up a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off Klingberg’s stick and beat Bishop high on his blocker side at 6:51.

A strong forecheck by Aho soon got the puck to Staal who then found Teravainen open three minutes later to cap off the natural hat trick.

“We’ve been talking about shooting more,” Teravainen said.

“I just go out and do my thing and sometimes the puck goes in.”

With Carolina leading 4-1 and the final 10 minutes running down, Skinner caught Bishop out of position and ripped a shot past him with 2.6 seconds remaining to complete the four-goal victory with his team-leading ninth goal.

In picking up another win, Carolina has put together a 3-0-2 record over its last five games which Peters accounts to better defensive play.

“You have to be good defensively,” he concluded.

“Otherwise, if you’re not good defensively, and they sail through you, you spend the rest of your shift in the D-zone and you gotta come 200 feet. I think our team game has tightened up. We’ve been better defensively. I didn’t think we skated early in the game, but I thought the final 10 minutes of the first we got skatin’, and then continued to skate for the next 50 minutes.”

Notables: Aho’s first goal this season came one year and a day following his first-ever NHL goal on Nov. 12, 2016…Staal’s four assists helped him surpass the 200-point mark with Carolina…The Hurricanes finished 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill…In a release sent out during the game, the team placed forward Lee Stempniak back on injured reserve. Stempniak suffered an upper-body injury during the first game of his recent conditioning stint with Charlotte (AHL) on Friday night in Utica.

Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport