Carolina’s strong Finnish
When I say the Carolina Hurricanes won this game, they won it on the back of one line. They won it on the back of the KAT line, and specifically Sebastian Aho. Before we dive into the game, Aho’s 2 goals saw him become the all-time top Finnish scorer in Carolina Hurricanes history. It’s a niche stat, but it’s a cool one nevertheless. Congratulations to Sebastian!
Aho answered all the questions ever asked about loyalties between the two organizations that his offer-sheet signing started the feud between. This was the first performance of the season where Aho truly took over a game and became the ELITE player we know he is. Aho really showed that he is a star in this league with his performance against a Montreal team that played up to the fixture.
But Aho’s left-winger might have been the most impressive player on the team. As he returned to the Bell Center for the first time, Jesperi Kotkaniemi heard the boos all night long from the crowd that he used to perform in front of. Going into one of the harshest buildings in the league with one of the loudest fan bases, and playing as well as Kotkaniemi did with his extra pressure… it’s very impressive.
Kotkaniemi joined the Hurricanes after he was tendered a $6,100,035 offer sheet and Montreal declined to match it. A lot of Montreal fans have viewed this as Kotkaniemi jumping ship and ar proclaiming he was not committed to the Montreal-based organization. With how Kotkaniemi played, he showed what Montreal could have had if they decided to match his offer sheet.
As a 21-year-old, going into one of the most hostile environments you can like that and playing to that standard was absolutely sensational from Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He’s still young and he has a lot of growing to do, but he’s showing signs of being a first-round talent that he was only three years ago.
This line in general was excellent, and I have to share the moment that Quebec as a whole just descended into anarchy.