Carolina Hurricanes: 3 takeaways from win against red-hot Blues


The Carolina Hurricanes packed a punch last night as they defeated the St Louis Blues 5-2 at PNC Arena, in a game that will be long-remembered by Caniacs.

As has been well documented, the Carolina Hurricanes and the St Louis Blues have been the hottest teams in the NHL since January 1st (though Tampa Bay and Boston are making a run for that title lately). They entered last night’s game with identical records on the season, and with an identical number of wins since January 1st. It was a game many were looking forward to, as it has been a long time since the Hurricanes sat in a playoff spot on March 1st.

1. Heavyweight fight

On Evander Holyfield night, the Carolina Hurricanes took on their Western Conference mirror image and it was just as much of a heavyweight bout as we could have hoped. Even without Holyfield’s appearance in the Storm Surge, or Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Martinook mixing it up with opposing players on the ice, it was a hard-fought game up and down the ice and had a playoff feel to it. PNC Arena was packed and was LOUD. Shots on goal were 24-23 Carolina, much lower numbers than usual for either team. It was a grind-it-out, defensively-played game.

The Blues opened the scoring in the first period but Justin Williams quickly answered. A short three minutes later, Justin Faulk continued his recent hot streak, scoring his third goal in the last four games. The Blues did not go away quietly though and got back up for the second period. Two minutes and thirteen seconds into the second period, Vince Dunn added his ninth goal of the year to even the game at two.

A huge part of the Blues’ hot streak has been recently recalled goaltender Jordan Binnington. The Blues are playing a back-to-back this weekend (as are the Canes), so Jake Allen got the start last night. Allen made a costly error playing the puck and Sebastian Aho took advantage. Speaking of Aho…

2. Aho is a penalty killer

Sebastian Aho has solidified himself as the best player on the team this season in almost all facets of the game. He leads the team in goals and assists, clearly a fantastic offensive player, but he can still shut things down defensively. One of Carolina’s best defensive plays of the season came in overtime of the most recent Sabres game. Aho got back on defense and prevented a grade A scoring chance for Buffalo. Carolina won that game.

Aho also kills penalties. Really well.

Aho got lucky off am Allen mistake tonight, where he tallied his fourth shorthanded goal of the season, but it was clear Allen wasn’t expecting someone to be flying down the ice on a penalty kill like Aho was. It is clear this team has 100 percent bought in. When the unquestioned offensive superstar of your team is not only killing penalties but scoring shorthanded goals that are infinitely more effort than skill, you have something special.

No player has scored more goals than Seabass on the penalty kill this season. Could a Selke nomination be in order?

3. Success in the face-off dot

If you aren’t a Carolina Hurricanes fan, and don’t know how good Rod Brind’Amour was at taking face-offs, you might think Ryan O’Reilly is the best ever at taking draws. You’d be wrong, but I get it. He’s really good.


Hurricanes won 58% of the draws last night against O’Reilly and the Blues. A lot of this is due to the return of Jordan Staal. He’s the best on the team at taking face-offs and really adds to the lineup when he can take defensive draws (he also scored tonight). I talked about this in my last weekly recap/preview, but I was still surprised at how well the Carolina Hurricanes did at face-offs tonight

None other than Jordan Martinook won two defensive zone draws against O’Reilly off of back-to-back icings. This team is firing on all cylinders.

Next. What does Justin Williams mean to the Hurricanes?. dark

What a win. The Carolina Hurricanes are solidifying themselves as real contenders. The Blues are playing as well as anybody. The Hurricanes just beat them by three and I didn’t even talk about the quality goaltending by Curtis McElhinney. They travel to South Florida to take on the Panthers tonight. Keep an eye out for me in the stands.