RALEIGH — Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might be the best hockey tandem in the world, but Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen aren’t far behind.
Toss in a defense led by Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce and Vezina-caliber goaltending from Frederik Andersen, and the Carolina Hurricanes shut down Edmonton’s dynamic duo for a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon in front of 18,801 at PNC Arena.
“As a player, you kind of like having those opportunities,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of his players rising to the occasion against Edmonton’s two superstars. “It doesn’t happen all that often; we only play them twice a year. … You get a little more excited for games like that, for sure.”
While Aho and Teravainen were connecting for a goal for the 171st time, matching a franchise record set by Ron Francis and Kevin Dineen, Slavin and Pesce were leading the way against Edmonton’s two former MVPs.
Both McDavid and Draisaitl were blanked on the score sheet for the second time this season against the Hurricanes, and the latter was held without a shot on goal.
It was an even tougher night for McDavid.
The Oilers captain scored 51 seconds into the game only to have it wiped out when Warren Foegele — playing his first game in PNC Arena since being traded to the Oilers in the offseason for Ethan Bear — was ruled offsides after a Carolina challenge.
McDavid then took a high stick from Brady Skjei under five minutes later that required some dental work and kept him out for the ensuing four-minute power play and the balance of the first period.
Carolina’s top-ranked penalty kill — a perfect 4 for 4 on the night — kept Edmonton’s No. 1 power play from converting its prolonged chance without McDavid. The Hurricanes then staked themselves to a 2-0 lead on a pair of tic-tac-toe goals.
With just over eight minutes left in the period, defenseman Jalen Chatfield fed the puck to Andrei Svechnikov down low. Svechnikov looked toward the net and then dished to Teravainen for a one-timer and a 1-0 lead.
“Everybody’s trying to tell me to shoot the puck more, and when I get the chance I try to shoot it sometimes,” said Teravainen, who reached 15 goals for the fifth time with the goal.
Then on the power play, Svechnikov got things started with a pass to Teravainen, who found Aho in the slot for another one-timer goal at 16:53.
“It’s not always like that when you make five straight passes tape-to-tape and then you score a goal,” Aho said of Carolina’s two picture-perfect goals.
McDavid returned for the second period, but it was another former Hurricanes player that got Edmonton on the board.
After Pesce also had a goal disallowed on a challenged offsides, Derek Ryan halved the lead by blocking an Ian Cole shot and scored on a breakaway at 4:26 of the middle frame.
From there, the Hurricanes’ defense took over.
All but two minutes of the rest of the game was played at even-strength, and Aho’s line — with Teravainen and Svechnikov — went head-to-head with McDavid’s line. The NHL’s leading scorer had five shots on goal through two periods, but he did not register one on goal in the final 22:35.
“It’s a fun challenge, definitely,” Aho said of going against McDavid. “I enjoy playing against him because you want to beat the best, right? It was a good challenge and we got the win, which is the most important thing.”
Behind Aho were Slavin and Pesce, taking shift after shift of shutdown minutes.
“It’s kind of tough to defend those guys,” Pesce said, “but obviously I thought we did a really good job tonight.”
When the Oilers did get a puck on net, Andersen was again the Hurricanes’ final line of defense. He made 29 saves for his 16th start this season in which he allowed one or fewer goals. He also improved to 17-1-2 in his career against Edmonton.
The win was the Hurricanes’ fifth straight and improved them to 37-11-4 on the season.
“I thought we had a good effort again and, obviously, like the result,” Brind’Amour said.
Notes: Neither McDavid nor Draisaitl had a point in the two-game series against the Hurricanes this season. … Teravainen has points in eight straight games since returning from injury on Feb. 10. … Svechnikov had his 16th multipoint game with two assists. Only Aho (17) has more multipoint games this season for Carolina. … McDavid has one goal in nine career games against the Hurricanes, the only team doesn’t have multiple goals against in his career.