Canes’ Aho on his game winning goal to defeat the Blackhawks
The Carolina Hurricanes faced another backup goalie Monday at PNC Arena, but this time it was different. Totally different.
In net for the Chicago Blackhawks was Cam Ward, for many years the Hurricanes’ franchise goalie and one of the heroes of Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup run. Ward was warmly welcomed back, given a video tribute in the first period and cheered by Canes fans.
“Wish him the best,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said before the game. “I hope he has a great game tonight but we win. That would be the perfect story. You know he’s going to give us a good game. It’s our job to make it hard on him.”
The Hurricanes did, in the end, make it hard on Ward. Sebastian Aho’s goal at 1:16 of overtime gave the Canes, with Scott Darling in net, a 3-2 victory.
Aho took a cross-ice pass from defenseman Justin Fauik, skated past a sliding Brent Seabrook in the slot and beat Ward low for the winner -- Aho’s first goal in 13 games.
“We haven’t won a lot lately and obviously we needed to get some confidence,” Aho said. “This win feels definitely good.”
Teuvo Teravainen and Micheal Ferland scored power-play goals in a 66-second span in the second period for the Canes, earning a 2-2 tie.
Darling took it from there, finishing with 33 saves in his second win over his former team in five days, and was named the game’s first star.
Ward, who had 37 stops, was enjoying a mostly stress-free night for the first 34 minutes, until late in the second period. The Blackhawks, who had lost seven straight games, led 2-0 and the Canes (8-7-3) had little jump in the second game of their six-game homestand.
“They looked like the Chicago Blackhawks of old there at the beginning, going up and down, and we were a little bit in quicksand,” Brind’Amour said. “Then the guys turned it on.”
The game quickly turned. Seabrook, trying to clear the puck, flipped it over the glass for a delay-of-game penalty.
The puck was dropped for the game’s first power play, Aho won it to Teravainen and Teravainen blasted it past Ward from the top of the slot.
Forty seconds later, Chicago’s Henri Jokiharju was called for slashing Andrei Svechnikov. Ferland then scored as Svechnikov powerfully drove the net past and got the puck to Ferland off Seabrook’s skate in front of Ward.
Two power-play goals, 66 seconds. Tie score.
Svechnikov left the game in the third period after being boarded by Seabrook but did return and had an assist on Aho’s winning goal.
Brind’Amour said it was a “real scary” hit but did not think it was a malicious hit.
The Canes’ Justin Williams nearly gave Carolina the lead in the final minute of regulation, nearly banging the puck past Ward at the post.
The Blackhawks (6-8-4) were determined to give Jeremy Colliton his first victory as head coach after losses to the Canes and Philadelphia Flyers in his first two games. The Canes, in turn, had lost six of seven.
“We’re both teams that are dying to get their games going and get results from their efforts,” Brind’Amour said.
Colliton reunited Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, loading up his top line. That had an immediate result as Toews gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the first.
The Blackhawks pushed the lead to 2-0 in the second after Faulk couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone. David Kampf won the battle for the puck and Alex DeBrincat scored his ninth off a drop pass.
Darling had made some strong stops before the DeBrincat goal, denying Nick Schmaltz on a breakaway.