Sebastian Aho scored late in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes recovered to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 at PNC Arena on Saturday.
Aho scored on the rebound of Jaccob Slavin’s shot at 17:34 of the third to put the Hurricanes ahead 4-3. His goal came 32 seconds after Auston Matthews tied it 3-3 during a scramble in front.
“I guess there’s two options: keep going and stick with it, or drop your shoulders and let it go,” Aho said. “We definitely did a good job to bounce back and didn’t change too much about how we approached the next shift.”
Pyotr Kochetkov made an NHL career-high 41 saves, and Jesper Fast and Martin Necas each had two assists for the Hurricanes (47-16-8), who have won three of four.
Carolina remained two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils for first in the Metropolitan Division.
“[Kochetkov] especially was dominant, but we found a way,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We haven’t had a game all year where if it wasn’t for the goalie, we don’t have a chance.”
Matthews scored two goals, Morgan Rielly had two assists, and Matt Murray made 23 saves for the Maple Leafs (43-20-9), who have lost two of three.
Toronto leads the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have played two more games, by five points for second place in the Atlantic Division.
“I find it in a lot of ways to be our best game,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We don’t get the win here today, [but] there’s certainly some things we’ll take out of this and learn from. I couldn’t ask for much more there.”
Brent Burns gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead during a 5-on-3 power play at 1:54 of the first period, scoring from between the circles off a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere.
Jordan Staal extended the lead to 2-0 at 10:52 when he batted Jordan Martinook’s centering pass over Murray’s glove.
“On the 5-on-3 they capitalized, and [they] get another quick one, so we had to dig ourselves out of a hole there pretty early,” Matthews said. “But we’re proud of the way we played to get the game back.”
Calle Jarnkrok cut it to 2-1 at 4:41 of the second period when he scored with a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the right circle.
Matthews tied it 2-2 at 12:41 on a low wrist shot from the slot.
“He’s playing great for us,” Rielly said. “He’s feeling it and putting the puck in the net. It’s a good sign for us. When he’s going, our team tends to play well.”
Toronto outshot Carolina 18-5 in the second period.
“Their world-class talent took over, and we just watched it happen,” Brind’Amour said. “I tip my hat to them because they played a really good game. They were just coming in waves, and if it wasn’t for our goalie, we obviously wouldn’t have won.”
Stefan Noesen gave Carolina a 3-2 lead at 8:13 of the third period. Murray stopped Noesen on a wraparound at the left post, but Noesen jammed in the rebound.
“I was able to hold onto it and stuff it around,” Noesen said. “It was sitting there, and I think they all thought Matt was covering it. That’s a typical Noesen goal right there.”
After Matthews and Aho traded goals, Teuvo Teravainen scored into an empty net at 18:43 for the 5-3 final.