RALEIGH, N.C. – It was a bittersweet 300th career NHL game for Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho.
While factoring in on all three goals, and saying “it was like yesterday” when he played his first NHL game, Aho was disappointed in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Despite outshooting Edmonton by a 31-24 margin, Aho’s overtime chance to win the game didn’t elude Mike Smith who earned the win over Canes starting goalie James Reimer.
Trevor Van Riemsdyk along with Aho produced goals for Carolina while two goals, including the overtime winner, from Josh Archibald followed Edmonton markers from NHL points leader Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto.
“It would have been nice to get the winning goal, but we weren’t able to do that, and obviously they had one chance in OT and they scored,” Aho said, following his two-goal, one-assist performance.
“The mindset (in OT) is score a goal. For me, great chance, I just couldn’t put it in; so it sucks. I just have to put that in.”
Let one get away
Chasing the Eastern Conference playoff wildcard spot trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers by two points with two games in hand, Carolina could only salvage one point with the tie at the end of regulation time.
Facing an Oilers squad that was playing its third game in four days, the Hurricanes relied on Aho and linemates Andrei Svechnikov (1a) and Teuvo Teravainen (1a) to carry the load after defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk’s first goal of the season opened the game’s scoring just 12 seconds in.
Draisaitl’s 34th goal of the season tied up 1-1 at the 6:28 mark of the opening period, a deadlock that carried into the second when Aho scored his 32nd of the year.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour liked where the game was headed at that point.
“I thought it was one of those games where we had to dig in and I thought we did,” he said.
“The game is 2-1, I thought it was going along great, we were in good shape, and then a couple of 50-50 calls and the game slipped. And that happens. I thought we probably deserved better.”
Trailing, catching up, falling short
As both teams skated, battled for pucks and traded scoring opportunities, it was an Edmonton one-two combination late in the second that caught the Hurricanes off guard.
Goals from Yamamoto and Archibald 28 seconds apart gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
The Finn rejuvenated the sellout crowd when he scored his second goal of the game with 5:02 remaining to tie the score 3-3.
With both teams still tied, overtime provided the setting that ended this one.
Carolina outshot Edmonton 5-1, including a point-blank stop in close from Teravainen, and Aho’s breakaway attempt and rebound that Smith denied.
With just over a minute remaining, Draisaitl gained the zone and fed a cutting Archibald who beat Reimer high to the stick side to give Edmonton the win.
“Sometimes the pucks bounce your way and sometimes they don’t,” Reimer said.
“It’s unfortunate – you hate losing games, but at least we battled and got a point. Smitty played unreal in overtime – kudos to him. We grinded out a valuable point. It is what it is.”
Notables: Carolina finished 0-3 on the power play, 37-174 (21.3%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 2-3, 169-205 (82.4%) overall…Aho’s three points (2g, 1a) extended his point streak to nine games marking his longest point streak of the season and tying the second-longest of his career…The announced sellout was Carolina’s second consecutive and 10th of the season. The Hurricanes are averaging 16,624 fans per game through 30 games at PNC Arena in 2019-20, an increase of 19.3% over their average through 30 home games last season (13,930).
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