5 Carolina Hurricanes players who must bring their A-Game to claim the lead in the Metropolitan

The Carolina Hurricanes are just a few points behind the New York Rangers, and a big month of February can push them closer to the division lead.
Feb 6, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) celebrates
Feb 6, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) celebrates / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The Carolina Hurricanes can make a move and overtake the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division this month and roll into March with the division lead. They are a team that has enjoyed some stellar seasons lately, but they have yet to break through and win the Eastern Conference. 

Winning the Metropolitan Division will put this group in the best position possible to reach the Conference Finals for the second year running. Taking the lead in February and building momentum when the most meaningful games of the year begin in March is the ultimate way for the Hurricanes to take one of the top seeds.

There are five players whose respective performances have gotten Carolina this far. And if they take it up just one more notch, expect them to at least sit there alongside New York in the Metro.

Sebastian Aho must keep up a high-octane game on the man advantage

Sebastian Aho is currently the Hurricanes points leader and he’s the go-to when they need to score. But this isn’t just at even strength, as Aho has been phenomenal on the man advantage, scoring 23 of his 55 points when Carolina is playing at 5-on-4.

With 55 in 46 games this season, Aho is also on pace to set the best mark of his career with between 88 and 90 points if he keeps going at this rate. His high-octane game in all situations has been a huge help so far in 2023-24, and it’s a far cry from what we saw last season, when Aho put up just 15 of his 67 points on the man advantage.

And remember, this is a player whose game is not purely one of the league’s best when the Hurricanes have the puck. He has also been outstanding defensively over the past few seasons, evidenced by snagging a few votes for the Selke. If Aho takes his game up one notch defensively as well, he will do his part in helping the Hurricanes catch New York.