Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov all had three-point games, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves as the Hurricanes ended their six-game road trip with a 5-1 win Tuesday in Dallas.
Staal scored twice, while Aho, Max McCormick and Nino Niederreiter all had one goal for Carolina.
1. The Hurricanes haven’t gotten much on the score sheet out of their top players of late. That wasn’t a problem Tuesday. Aho, Staal and Svechnikov were all on their game. Staal had two power play goals, while Aho (goal and two assists) and Svechnikov (three assists) factored in on Carolina’s first three tallies.
“It’s really good to see other guys score goals,” said Svechnikov, who had his first career three-assist game. “So, I mean, it helps. I feel like our four lines, everybody can score. You can’t just beat one. … I think it’s good to have that, and we gotta move that to the next game.”
2. The Hurricanes didn’t do much at the NHL trade deadline, trading Haydn Fleury for Jani Hakanpaa and a pick. But they got their biggest planned addition on Tuesday.
Teuvo Teravainen played in his just his second game since Feb. 20 and first since he suited up for one game March 4. It’s been a long concussion recovery for Teravainen, one that Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour — a noted NHL Ironman as a player — seemingly admitted earlier Tuesday took longer than it perhaps would have in his day.
But none of that matters now. Teravainen, if he remains symptom-free, will have seven more games to round into form before the start of the postseason — plenty of time for a player who’s known for turning it on once it really counts.
Aho said Teravainen looked fast and on his game from the first shift and will only get better going forward.
“Obviously, that’s huge for us. … I thought for being out as long as he was, he was good,” Brind’Amour added.
3. Carolina got multiple power plays goals, both by Staal, for the first time since April 6 when it converted 2 of 4 attempts. Since that effort, the league’s top-ranked unit had been in a bit of a funk, scoring just five times in 10 games and converting just 16.1% of its chances (5 for 31).
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes were 2 of 3 and got back to the meat and potatoes of their attack, firing the puck at the net and hunting for rebounds. Both of Staal’s goals came from just outside the crease with the team’s first unit, and the second unit — with Teravainen back in the fold — should get a boost down the stretch.
“Getting two goals and not letting any on the PK is going to give us a really good chance to win the hockey game,” Aho said.
Number To Know
3 — Points or more in each of Carolina’s last four two-game sets since they managed just one point in two games against the Red Wings on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. The Hurricanes capped an eight-game homestand with a two-game sweep of the Predators, then they got three of a possible four points against Tampa Bay, Florida and Dallas to finish their six-game road trip with nine of a possible 12 points. Carolina’s eight-game point streak matches the one it had Feb. 27 to March 14 when the Hurricanes went 8-0-0.
They Said It
“I know if he gets a little angry, he’s a real special player. He was tonight.”
— Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour on captain Jordan Staal responding to Stars captain Jamie Benn’s four-point game Monday with a three-point game Tuesday.
Jordan Staal, Hurricanes center — Staal had his fourth multigoal game of the season and now has a career-best seven power play goals this year.
Staal’s resurgence as a goal scorer — along with the Hurricanes’ success this season — has boosted his candidacy for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, enough so that recently retired player and infrequent poster Justin Williams took to Twitter during Tuesday’s game to stump for his former teammate.
J. Staal for Selke
— Justin Williams (@JustinWilliams) April 28, 2021
Staal shrugged that off by saying, “Willy’s biased,” but there’s certainly a strong case to be made.
Staal received two second-place votes last season after not getting any the two previous years. He was a finalist in 2009-10 as a 21-year-old with Pittsburgh but finished behind Pavel Datsyuk, who won the last of his three straight Selkes that year, and Ryan Kesler.
Even at age 32 and with more than 1,000 games played, Staal continues to put up strong possession numbers despite taking the bulk of his zone starts in the defensive end — something none of the top Selke contenders like Patrice Bergeron, Aleksander Barkov or Mark Stone do — and he ranks 22nd in the league among forwards with 103:05 minutes of shorthanded ice time on the league’s third-ranked penalty kill.
Brind’Amour knows a thing or two about waiting for a Selke, finishing in the top 20 four times before winning in consecutive years in 2006 and 2007, and he’s obviously pulling for his captain.
“(I’ve been) saying this for a long time,” Brind’Amour said. “I think you do have to have the numbers, and I get it. Clearly he does, and hopefully he’ll get his due.”
Martin Necas, Hurricanes forward — The one line that wasn’t going was Vincent Trocheck centering Necas and Cedric Paquette. Necas was limited to two shot attempts, and he and the second power play unit, limited to under a minute of action, were ineffective.