Kochetkov blanks Devils, Aho scores only goal with OT winner

Carolina picked up a win on Whalers Night

Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 34 saves in Carolina's 1-0 overtime win Saturday in Raleigh. (Ben McKeown / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — After he allowed a goal from beyond the blue line after Thursday’s win over the Avalanche, there was nowhere to hide for Pyotr Kochetkov, especially when he was forced to reenter the game after being pulled due to an injury to Antti Raanta. He responded with a perfect third period in a win.

He tried to hide on Saturday — but this time it was him dashing to the penalty box trying to avoid his teammates as they mobbed him following a 34-save shutout in the Hurricanes’ 1-0 overtime win over the Devils on Whalers Night at PNC Arena.

Kochetkov and Vitek Vanecek kept the score 0-0 until Sebastian Aho batted in the rebound of a Martin Necas shot for the game’s only goal at 3:40 of overtime, his 19th of the season

Three observations

1. It felt like it was going to take either a brutal mistake or an otherworldly play for either team to score.

“When it’s a tight game, you don’t want to make those mistakes,” Necas said.

Carolina made plenty throughout the night, committing 31 giveaways, but it was a great play, not a mistake, that ended it.

Necas carried the puck from the Carolina end, flipped a pass to himself as he cut to the middle of the ice and snapped a shot to the high slot that Vanecek (31 saves) fended off. The rebound, however, popped in the air to the New Jersey goalie’s right, and Aho batted it out of the air and in for the game’s lone goal.

“The rebound kind of came right into me,” Aho said. “Although it was midair, but still it was kind of in the wheelhouse and I tapped it in.”

2. Andrei Svechnikov returned to the lineup after missing the last six games, playing for the first time in more than three weeks and logging 19:16. He finished with seven shot attempts (two on goal), a team-high four hits and was called for a penalty.

His best chance came on Carolina’s first power play when his wide-angle one-timer was stopped by Vanecek.

Brett Pesce, meanwhile, missed his second straight game with an illness. Tony DeAngelo played in consecutive games for the first time since November, playing 13:47 with a shot on goal and blocked shot.

3. The Hurricanes’ season-high 31 giveaways were certainly helped along by the bad ice. The puck was unpredictable all night, a day after a concert at PNC Arena.

“The puck was stopping and bouncing everywhere,” Necas said.

Aho added: “It was kind of soft, I think. It’s not an excuse, … but it kind of felt a little heavy to skate on the ice.”

I asked Brind’Amour if the ice, on Whalers Night, was like it was back in the 1980s.

“A little bit,” he said. “I don’t know, we might’ve taken that a little too literal, the Hartford thing.”

Number to know

10 — Faceoff wins for Jack Drury, tying a career high. He won that many on just 13 draws, arguably his best night at the dot in his career.


Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes goalie — Saturday marked the latest moment in Kochetkov’s young career that could be seen as an opportunity to seize Carolina’s No. 1 job. After getting pulled after 20 minutes against the Avalanche only to return for the third period when Antti Raanta suffered an injury, Kochetkov got the call again from Brind’Amour. He responded with perhaps his best game as a pro, making countless Grade-A stops — both teams were credited with 11 high-danger chances — and playing with poise on a night when the players in front of him didn’t have their fastball.

“I don’t want to think (to think a lot) about how I play,” said Kochetkov, who is still working on his improving English. “I just want to play. It’s second period, last period, overtime, I just play.”

The shutout was the sixth of Kochetkov’s career and second this season, and it was the 27th time in franchise history a goalie stopped at least 34 shots without allowing a goal.


Seth Jarvis, Hurricanes forward — Jarvis was a big part of Carolina’s 4-for-4 night on the kill and helped limit the Devils’ second line of Nico Hischier centering Jesper Bratt and Ondrej Palat. But one can’t help but wonder how much more of a beating he can take.

He had his hand taped up at morning skate after blocking a shot with his palm against the Avalanche, had a prolonged chat with a Hurricanes trainer during the second period after he was slow to get up after getting tangled up in the corner during play, and has been playing through an upper-body injury most of the season.

There’s no denying Jarvis is tough as nails, but Carolina will need him in the postseason. Who knows how much more he can take.

They said it

“It’s 0-0. I say, ‘F— boys, please score.’ I go home.”

— Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov