Sebastian Aho scores in OT to lift Hurricanes over Devils 1-0

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Saturday, February 10, 2024

RALEIGH, N.C. -- - Sebastian Aho scored 3:40 into overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Aho knocked a rebound of a Martin Necas shot out of midair past New Jersey goalie Vitek Vanecek for the only goal of the game.

"It was a good play by (Necas) to cut through the middle and get a shot off," Aho said. "The rebound kind of came right into me. Although, it was midair it was still in the wheelhouse and I tapped it in."

Goals were scarce for both sides with Vanecek (31 saves) and Carolina's Pyotr Kochetkov (34 saves) both stellar in net.

The Hurricanes have won five of their past six games. The Devils have lost seven of 10.

Kochetkov made two saves in overtime to make sure Aho had a chance to score the winner.

"He was sharp," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "He was the difference, for sure."

Vanecek saved some of his best work for a third-period stop on Jordan Martinook. Vanecek denied Martinook's breakaway attempt at 11:20 in the third. Then New Jersey killed off an Ondrej Palat penalty.

Carolina returned the favor by getting out of a Necas high-sticking penalty at 11:27 in the third.

"I thought we played one heck of a hockey game," New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. "We generated the opportunities that we needed to generate. We just didn't finish."

It was a bounce-back effort from Kochetkov, who was benched in Thursday's 5-2 home win over Colorado. Kochetkov gave up two goals in a 5-second span at the end of the first period and then was pulled for Antti Raanta.

Raanta suffered a lower-body injury in his relief effort and Brind'Amour said Saturday that Raanta would be out a "couple of weeks." Carolina is already missing No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen, who has been out with a blood-clotting issue since early November.

Brind'Amour said it's all a learning process for Kochetkov, the 24-year-old Russian who picked up his second shutout of the season.

"It's the hardest position in sports," Brind'Amour said. "He's still learning and we're just in the beginning stages of what we are going to see out of him."

Kochetkov finished Thursday's win over the Avalanche and was sharp on Saturday. A tone-setting save came in the first two minutes of the game when he denied Nico Hischier on a point-blank power-play attempt.

Kochetkov also came up with a tricky glove save on a rebound attempt by Erik Haula seven minutes into the second period.

While the Hurricanes struggle to keep a healthy complement of goalies, the offense got a lift with the return of forward Andrei Svechnikov, who had been out since Jan. 21 with an upper-body injury. Svechnikov, who has 30 points in 30 games this season, had missed the previous six games.

Svechnikov's return didn't equal more shots for the Carolina offense. The Hurricanes have been outshot only three times in the past 13 games - this is the second time in that span by the Devils.

With the win, the Hurricanes improved to 5-0-3 when wearing their Hartford Whalers throwback uniforms.

UP NEXT

Devils: Host Seattle on Monday night.

Hurricanes: At Dallas on Tuesday night.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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