Aho scores in 6th straight, Hurricanes top Sabres for 7th win in row
BUFFALO — Sebastian Aho extended his scoring streak to six games for the Carolina Hurricanes in their seventh straight win, 5-1 over the Buffalo Sabers at KeyBank Center on Wednesday.
“If I can score and help the team win that way, that’s good,” said Aho, who has scored nine goals during his streak. “And it’s always nice to score, don’t get me wrong, I’d rather take that winning streak than a goal streak. But yeah, obviously you’re trying to produce every game and obviously I’m playing big minutes, so that’s my job too.”
Video: [email protected]: Aho gives the house a backdoor pass for a PPG
Stefan Noesen had a goal and an assist, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jalen Chatfield each had two assists for the Hurricanes (34-9-8), who are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games. Antti Raanta made 29 saves,
It was Carolina’s last game until February 11 against the New York Rangers.
“A bit of everything, I think that’s key,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I think every game there’s a little something here or there; we’ve played quite consistently, our guys are working very hard and that’s the cornerstone of our group. I think the contributions from top to bottom of the lineup. … It’s impressive to keep winning despite a few guys we knocked out.”
Alex Tuch scored and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 29 saves for the Sabers (26-20-4), who enjoyed their seven-game point streak (5-0-2). It was their last game until February 11 against the Calgary Flames.
“We fought hard,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “It was the first time in a long time that I saw our guys carrying frustration and starting to play in frustration, which hadn’t happened for some time for us, which complicates things even more. I don’t I’ve never had any rhythm and obviously we played a really good hockey team and a capable hockey team.
“They were on a pace coming out of last night (a 5-4 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings). But it didn’t matter who we were playing tonight. This result was not going to be favorable for many. for reasons that were well within our control. It’s unfortunate, but it happened.
Video: [email protected]: Noesen brings home Necas pass to double lead
Sabers forward Tage Thompson sat out the third period with an upper body injury. Granato did not have an update after the game and said Thompson’s status for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend Friday and Saturday in Sunrise, Fla., has yet to be determined.
“No decision,” Granato said. “But obviously it’s a bit of a decision, we’ll see where we are here. … Didn’t finish the game, so we’ll see. I don’t even want to read into it.”
Aho gave Carolina a 1-0 lead at 2:35 of the first period on the power play, catching a cross pass from Teuvo Teravainen on the backdoor to the right of the net.
“The puck is finding the back of the net right now,” Aho said. “Obviously, like today, it was an unreal pass from Teuvo. I just tapped it, so a lot of goals, teammates and power play units get those chances and just try to score at every game.”
Noesen made it 2-0 at 10:05 on a tap-in at the left post on a 3-on-1, and Brent Burns made it 3-0 at 12:47, scoring a short pass from Kotkaniemi to the bottom of the right circle. Burns extended his seven-game streak with at least one point (four goals, four assists).
It was Burns’ 10th goal of the season.
“A wonderful human being and teammate, and a great player,” Brind’Amour said of Burns. “So you tick every possible box. I joked about it, but I wish we had it 10 years ago because he’s got a life sentence. You don’t let that kind of guys go. Really, really happy to have him.”
Video: [email protected]: Burns adds 1st half lead
Tuch cut it to 3-1 at 2:45, scoring the crossbar from the right circle.
Derek Stepan made it 4-1 at 10:30 of the third period before Jordan Martinook scored shorthanded in an empty net at 18:19 for the 5-1 final.
“They came towards us with a lot of energy,” Tuch said. “They kept it simple; they were turning over pucks, keeping us on our heels. We couldn’t keep up their pressure and we crumbled from the start. When you lose 3-0 to a team like that , it’s going to be impossible to come back, honestly. We dug ourselves a hole, we didn’t get out of it.”
NOTES: Aho’s scoring streak is the third longest in Carolina Hurricanes and Hartford Whalers history after Pierre Larouche (9 games in 1981-82 with Hartford) and Ray Ferraro (7 games in 1988- 89 with Hartford). … Burns is the seventh defenseman 37 or older in NHL history with a seven-game or more point streak. … Martin Necas got his 100th NHL assist on Noesen’s goal. … The Hurricanes’ 10-game point streak is their second double-digit streak of the season (17 games Nov. 25-Jan. 1). This is the second time in Carolina/Hartford history that the team has experienced multiple such streaks, also in 2005-06. … Sabers forward Jeff Skinner played his 900th NHL game. He is the first player in the 2010 NHL Draft to reach the milestone. … Tuch has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last nine games.