If the Carolina Hurricanes were frustrated after losing four in a row, they did not show it Tuesday night at the PNC Arena. Certainly not alternative captain Sebastian Aho, who would net the eventual game-winner 8:07 into the third period in a game against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In fact, there was never much to be frustrated about. The Canes outshot opponents 143 – 101 over the four-game losing streak. And, although they could not get the goals needed, they still looked like the better team on the ice for most of those games.
The Canes started out slow in the first period but caught fire throughout the rest of the game. If there was any frustration with Aho then it melted off when he put one past Andrei Vasilevskiy for his 28th goal of the season.
And in true leadership fashion, Aho was able to keep his composure when the game started getting rough. With 26 seconds left in the game and a Tamp Bay empty net, Aho was hit with a potentially dangerous hit from Nikita Kucherov which drew an interference call against the Lightning.
Sebastian Aho was slow to get up and voice his displeasure but ultimately kept his cool and did not allow his emotions to get out of hand and put the game in danger. It’s this kind of leadership from Aho that will help the Canes come playoff time.
Kucherov, on the other hand, did not display the same level of leadership for Lightning. After taking the interference call, Kucherov was not able to keep his composure and spent a great deal of time arguing with the refs and even went as far as going after Aho after the final whistle.
When all is said and done, it was a great night for hockey and the games between the Hurricanes and Lightening seem to be getting more intense as the season wears on.