Aho scores 2, Gostisbehere helps Hurricanes beat Coyotes 6-1
By JACK THOMPSON
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Sebastian Aho scored twice, Shayne Gostisbehere had a power-play goal against his former team and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-1 on Friday night.
Paul Stastny, Jaccob Slavin and Martin Necas also scored for Carolina, which scored three times in four power-play opportunities. Brent Burns had a career-high four assists and Necas and Andrei Svechnikov tallied two each. Antti Ranta had 17 saves as the Hurricanes got their 40th win of the season to give them 88 points and extend their narrow lead over New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division.
Lawson Crouse scored his 20th goal for the Coyotes and trails only Clayton Keller (25) for the team lead. Karel Vejmelka finished with 36 saves.
Aho's first of the night made it 2-0 nearly nine minutes into the game for the Hurricanes, who had lost their previous two games. The teams were even in shots on goal (seven) through 20 minutes.
"We were a little sluggish in the first, and then we got to our game and then it looked like it should. We got it together," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said.
After Slavin pushed Carolina's lead to 3-0 early in the second, Crouse got Arizona on the scoreboard with 9:19 left in the middle period.
Gostisbehere, who was traded to Carolina on Wednesday for a 2026 third-round draft pick, played in his first game for the Hurricanes. He scored on the power play with Arizona's Patrik Nemeth in the penalty box for hooking with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second to give Carolina a 4-1 lead.
"It's a very close-knit group," Gostisbehere said of his new team. "They made it easier to go out and play. A lot of terminology I'm not familiar with. I'm asking questions every shift. ... It was a little weird, I'm not gonna lie, just being on the other side so quick."
Brind'Amour didn't see anything unusual from his new defenseman.
"He was great," the coach said. "Tough situation, playing your old team, but he looked comfortable. He didn't look like he was nervous. Obviously you can see that he's going to help us. ... We needed that power-play guy, a guy that can move the puck."
Aho's second of the game and 27th of the season gave the Hurricanes a four-goal lead 2:11 later, and Necas got his 25th for Carolina's third-straight tally with the man-advantage at 1:47 of the third.
Gostisbehere wasn't the only player leaving Arizona this week. The Coyotes sent D Jakob Chychrun to Ottawa, and C Nick Bjugstad and D Cam Dineen went to Edmonton in another rebuilding effort in the desert.
Before Friday's trading deadline, the Coyotes traded Nick Ritchie and defenseman Troy Stecher to Calgary for Brett Ritchie and minor-leaguer Connor Mackey. According to NHL stats, it's the first brother-for-brother trade in league history.
The Hurricanes, making a bid for the Stanley Cup in the powerful Eastern Conference, picked up F Jesse Puljujarvi from Edmonton in addition to acquiring Gostisbehere. Puljujarvi was scratched on Friday, as were Ritchie and Mackey for Arizona.
Michael Kesserling, a defenseman acquired this week by the Coyotes, played in his first NHL game.
LOSING THE EDGE
Milos Kelemen, a defenseman recalled from Tucson earlier Friday to fill one of the spots vacated by a traded player, blocked a Carolina shot with his skate near the blue line in the second period, and the blade came loose. He was able to get to the bench and an official retrieved the loose blade.
Coyotes: F Josh Brown (upper body) is still sidelined. F Christian Fisher (illness) missed his first game of the season.
Hurricanes: Host Tampa Bay Sunday.
Coyotes: Host New Jersey Sunday. ---
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated March 4, 2023