Aho leads Hurricanes past slumping Senators

Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask scored in the third period to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to the win over the Ottawa Senators.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sebastian Aho was itching to get back on the ice after missing two weeks with a concussion and a knee injury.

He celebrated with a big goal for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Aho and Victor Rask scored in the third period, helping the Hurricanes top the slumping Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Tuesday night.

“I was very excited. I’ve been waiting for this since I got hurt,” Aho said. “It felt really good to get that goal.”

Cam Ward made 29 saves for Carolina in the opener of a season-long eight-game homestand. The Hurricanes returned from the All-Star break with their second straight win after dropping six of eight.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored and Craig Anderson made 37 saves for the Senators, who have lost six in a row. Ottawa hit three posts, including two in the first period.

“I really think we deserved to get out of this with at least one point,” coach Guy Boucher said. “I really thought after two periods we had a chance to win this one.”

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Pageau put Ottawa in front with his seventh goal in the second, but Carolina responded with a big rally in the final period.

Aho took a drop pass from Teuvo Teravainen at the blue line and fired a slap shot that deflected off the stick of Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot and past Anderson. Aho, who leads Carolina with 17 goals, had missed four straight games after a collision with Calgary’s Marc Giordano on Jan. 14.

“It was awesome to see him out there,” Ward said. “I was really impressed with the way that he played and the way he handled himself when he was injured too. I assumed he was going to be out longer, and here we are. He wanted to play. He wants to be an impact player and we need him out there. Obviously as a team we were excited that he’s back.”

New Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon opened the lower seating bowl at PNC Arena to all ticket holders in an effort to create a better home atmosphere, and the Hurricanes reaped the benefits down the stretch.

After Aho’s goal energized the crowd, the Hurricanes maintained their momentum and Rask fired a power-play wrist shot from the left faceoff circle past Anderson on the goaltender’s stick side at 11:32.

Ward finished it off, making two stops in the final seconds to secure the victory.

NOTES: Aho had no apparent issues in his return, playing 19:03. … Ottawa D Erik Karlsson reached 300 career penalty minutes when he was called for hooking in the first period. … The Senators scratched D Erik Burgdoerfer and C Filip Chlapik. … The Hurricanes scratched D Klas Dahlbeck, F Josh Jooris and F Phillip Di Giuseppe.


Senators: Return home to host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

Hurricanes: Continue their homestand against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

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