The Carolina Hurricanes are in the Central Division Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Thursday, the Hurricanes defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in overtime to win the best out of seven Central Division semifinal series four games to two. The game winning goal came from Sebastian Aho of Rauma, Finland, who tipped in a shot from defenseman Jaccob Slavin of Erie, CO, to put the Hurricanes into the second round.
For Aho, it was his first career Stanley Cup Playoff overtime winner. It was his second goal of the game as he initially pulled the Hurricanes within one goal (3-2 Nashville) with a power-play marker with six minutes and 26 seconds left in the second period. Dougie Hamilton of Toronto, Ontario, who picked up an assist on Aho’s second period goal, scored the game tying goal with six minutes and one second left in the third period to force overtime. Interestingly, the two players who picked up an assist on the Hamilton game-tying goal were Slavin and Brock McGinn of Fergus, Ontario. Slavin was instrumental in the Hurricanes winning the game in overtime with his assist, while McGinn opened the scoring for the Hurricanes at 4:21 of the first period to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Aho had an excellent series for the Hurricanes against the Predators. In six games, he had five goals and two assists fort seven points. Aho was also a +4 with six penalty minutes, two power play goals, two game-winning goals, 30 shots on goal, 52 faceoff wins, three blocked shots, 13 hits, and three takeaways.
Aho’s previous game-winning goal of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs came in game two of the series on May 19. He scored from Andrei Svechnikov of Barnaul, Russia, and Hamilton.
The Hurricanes will now face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Central Division Final. The Lightning are firing on all cylinders now and appear very healthy after Nikita Kucherov missed the entire regular season with hip surgery.