Center Sebastian Aho continued his recent tear with a pair of goals and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Saturday, Dec. 11. The three-point effort put Aho at 12 points in his last five games.
“He's a special player,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin. “We've had him for a long time now so we know what he's capable of and it's good that everyone else is starting to know that as well.”
Aho opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period and extended the Canes’ (19-6-1) lead to 3-1 early in the third, providing his team with some crucial breathing room down the stretch. The Oilers (16-10-0) finally drew some penalties in the third period, allowing them to put the best power-play unit in the league on the ice.
Seabass literally can't stop scoring pic.twitter.com/e7cKKonbKF— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) December 12, 2021
The Canes’ penalty kill stood up to the challenge, however, rolling out the NHL’s second-best PK unit to keep the Oilers’ power play from scoring. Goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Jaccob Slavin spearheaded the effort, keeping Edmonton off the scoreboard during two power plays in the final 20 minutes. Andersen made several key saves late while Slavin logged a whopping 29:49 time on ice, with much of that time coming in a crucial third period.
“I think the most important guy on the PK is the goalie,” Aho said. “Especially against a power play like that, they're very good. They move the puck super fast; they're going to get some chances. … Freddie has to make some saves. You feel more confident because there's a hot goalie in your net.”
The third period’s significance was set up by an eventful second period that contained the majority of the scoring action. Right wing Nino Niederreiter put the Canes up 2-0 with a solo finish against Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen after receiving a long aerial pass from Aho. The Oilers, on the other hand, got their lone goal of the night by catching Carolina in the middle of a line change, allowing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to break away and beat Andersen.
Are you kidding me with this defensive zone outlet pass by Aho? Sends it airborne from below his own goal line to neutral ice and Niederreiter takes it from there.#20 is on some kind of roll right now. pic.twitter.com/l8GZJlzMk6— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) December 12, 2021
In addition to Aho’s run of form, center Vincent Trocheck made his mark on the game as well. In his 500th career NHL game, Trocheck assisted Aho on the game-opening goal.
The Hurricanes continue their push westward, visiting Vancouver to take on the Canucks on Sunday, Dec. 12. Puck drop is set for 10 p.m.