Special Teams Lead the Way as Kochetkov and the Hurricanes Snap Their Losing Streak

The losing streak finally comes to an end as Sebastian Aho's three-point second period propels the Hurricanes to a 4-1 win in Ottawa.
Carolina Hurricanes v Edmonton Oilers
Carolina Hurricanes v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages

The return to the East Coast couldn't come quick enough for the Carolina Hurricanes after a tough trip to Western Canada. Losing all four games, including three by one goal, the Canes needed to find a way to get their stars going and win the battle in the crease. Stopping in Canada's capital to face the Ottawa Senators, it's evident they executed their game plan.

The lead-up to the game was riddled with uncertainty for the Canes. Andrei Svechnikov would miss his third straight game, and it doesn't sound like he's going to be back for a while. Along with Brett Pesce fighting flu-like symptoms, there were some questions about the lineup. Once we did get word, it turned out the Canes would be going 11/7 for the game, with Tony DeAngelo getting back into the lineup for the first time in ten games. Pyotr Kochetkov would get the start for the Canes, opposing Joonas Korpisalo for the Senators.

While the rest of the night went swimmingly for the Hurricanes, it didn't start the best. After Jordan Martinook went hard into the goal post, Josh Norris was able to tip a shot from the point past Pyotr Kochetkov, who wasn't able to get situated well with Martinook in his crease. Joonas Korpisalo was doing his part to deny the Canes, making massive stops on Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Sebastian Aho.

The penalty kill would come up with a huge two-minute stop, which then transitioned into the Canes getting their first attempt of the night on the power play. Tony DeAngelo would get back to quarterbacking the first unit, and while they weren't successful, the second unit would be. The play began with a great keep-in by Brent Burns. Jack Drury sauced a pass to Brady Skjei, who found Martin Necas with a cross-seam pass. Necas blasted a one-timer past Joonas Korpisalo with less than 90 seconds left in the period to get the Canes back even going into the break.

The start of the second period would be another great showcase for the penalty kill. An early too-many-men penalty would force them onto the ice, but the Senators would only manage one shot. Less than a minute later, Brady Skjei threw the puck over the glass, leading to another chance. This time, the Canes wouldn't allow a shot. This was about when the momentum turned their way.

Naturally, the Canes would get another chance on the power play, and they'd make good on it. With Seth Jarvis providing the screen, Sebastian Aho snapped one past a guessing Joonas Korpisalo to put the Canes ahead. Less than 90 seconds later, the lead would grow. A bad line change and a good flip out of the zone by Dmitry Orlov allowed Aho and Jarvis to get into the offensive zone on a 2-on-0. While a defender was able to get back for Ottawa, it wouldn't matter as Aho fed Jarvis for a tap-in to make it 3-1. The fun didn't end there. In the final minutes of the period, during a 4-on-4, Aho picked up his third point of the period by beating Tim Stutzle to the slot and snapping another shot past Korpisalo to make it a three-goal advantage going into the third.

The third period was all about keeping the lead intact. They failed to keep a two-goal lead in Calgary a few games ago, but this felt a little different. It took Ottawa a while to record a shot in the third period. Once they did, the Senators got some quality chances. Pyotr Kochetkov was ready. His biggest moment of the night came late. After being called for "throwing his stick" on a chance, Kochetkov went one-on-one with Brady Tkachuk on a penalty shot. Kochetkov would go for the flying poke check to deny Tkachuk, who felt strongly he'd been tripped on the chance. Tkachuk and Kochetkov exchanged pleasantries, and the Senators' captain would eventually be sent to the locker room early for jawing a little too much. Cooler heads would prevail, and the Canes would cruise to a 4-1 win to snap their four-game losing streak.

This was the effort during the trip that we'd been missing. The Hurricanes were the better team in every facet of the game against the Senators. The penalty kill remained perfect by killing all four penalties. The power play has converted on its last three chances, getting goals from each unit in the win. The Canes also outscored the Senators at even strength, scoring at 4-on-4 and 5-on-5. It's nice to see it all come together for another win.

The difference-makers in the game were Pyotr Kochetkov and Sebastian Aho. For all the rough starts we've seen from the goalies this season, there are still times when flashes of brilliance show. Kochetkov made some highlight-reel stops. Just off the top of my head, there was the glove save on Mathieu Joseph down 1-0 in the first period, the two-pad stack on Drake Batherson, and another stop on Batherson on a breakaway in the third. As for Aho, he was due to break out for a big game. He hadn't scored on the road trip through four games, getting outplayed by the other team's stars. In this game, he was the best player on the ice. He took the game over in the second period, contributing to all three goals and scoring two of them. This was the type of game the Canes needed from their top guys.

The road trip will come to an end on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit has been hit hard with injuries, but the addition of Patrick Kane will be a major boost for them. They'll turn right around to play again on Friday night as the Nashville Predators will await the Canes at PNC Arena. They'll finish the week with an intense division battle with the Washington Capitals on Sunday night.