RALEIGH, N.C. – With the Carolina Hurricanes currently on their bye week in the National Hockey League (NHL) schedule, a Tweet posted by the team on Monday announced that leading scorer Sebastian Aho was out indefinitely as a result of upper and lower-body injuries sustained in the game against Calgary on Sunday.
Aho, with 16 goals and 21 assists posted in 45 games played this season, was hit by Flames defenseman Mark Giordano 45 seconds into the third period in open ice while attempting to stickhandle around him in the slot in front of the Calgary net.
With Carolina trailing 2-0, and having played a total of 15:15 minutes in the game with one shot on goal, Aho collided with the opposing captain’s shoulder and outstretched leg, turned and fell, sliding across the ice as a result.
While the 20-year-old forward rolled around and lay on the ice, in retaliation, teammate Justin Williams engaged Giordano in a fight.
Aho was escorted off the ice, with trouble placing weight on his left leg, while a match penalty and accompanying fighting major was assessed to Giordano, as well as a major for fighting handed to Williams, who also received an instigator penalty along with a 10-minute misconduct.
Carolina eventually lost the game 4-1.
According to the team, after consulting with team doctors, Aho was diagnosed with a concussion and a lower-body injury.
Recent scoring trends will change
Carolina has lost four of its last five games while being outscored by a 21-12 margin.
Having scored nine goals and adding seven assists in Carolina’s last 15 games, the void Aho’s absence (duration unknown) will leave will have to be made up from a lineup of players that has scored in bunches and gone scoreless as such this season.
Team captain Jordan Staal has remained a steady catalyst for offensive production with six goals and five assists in the last 15 games and has provided three goals in the Hurricanes’ last five contests.
Initially the Hurricanes’ leading goal scorer to begin the season, forward Jeff Skinner will be looked upon to pick up more slack.
Skinner has scored once in the last five games, a marker coming in a 4-3 loss to Washington last Friday, but has seemed to slow with three goals along with five assists during the longer stretch of games dating back to Dec. 15th.
Currently the team’s second-leading scorer, Teuvo Teravainen, has been scoreless in the last five games, while posting three goals and eight assists since mid-December.
Increased production from forwards Elias Lindholm (4 goals, 5 assists in last 14 games) and Victor Rask (4 goals, 1 assist in last 15 games) will also be critical to Carolina turning its recent losing trend to a winning one without Aho.
Peter Koutroumpis, 401-323-8960, @pksport