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Aho leads Carolina past Bruins 5-3 on Whalers Night

December 24, 2018
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Carolina Hurricanes' Sebastian Aho (20) and Teuvo Teravainen (86) warmup in Hartford Whalers jerseys prior to their game with the Boston Bruins Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes brought back the Hartford Whalers for a night, and two of their younger stars kept “Brass Bonanza” seemingly playing on repeat.

Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had two goals and two assists and the Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 5-3 on Sunday while wearing Whalers uniforms for the first time since moving 21 years ago.

Aho, a 21-year-old who was born three months after the Whalers’ final game, had his fourth career four-point night and his second in five games, while it was the third for his linemate Teravainen. They assisted on each other’s two goals.

“Obviously, when you’re scoring, you get more confidence. That’s how it goes,” Aho said. “It’s maybe a little bit easier to score when you get a couple of goals. I’m feeling pretty good right now, but it’s not just me. My linemates are helping me out a lot.”

The Hurricanes scored four straight goals — three in the second period — to erase an early 2-0 deficit and snap a two-game losing streak that had left them two points out of last place.

“You could see from the start, they were engaged, even when we got down,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “That was nice to see the level of engagement for 60 minutes. ... (The Bruins are) going to have their moments, and they did, but I felt like we just kept battling, and we got the win.”

Justin Faulk also scored for Carolina, which scored two short-handed goals for the first time since 2013.

Ryan Donato had two goals, Steven Kampfer also scored and Brad Marchand had two assists for the Bruins, who had won three straight and six of eight.

Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for Boston, which pulled to 4-3 on Donato’s blast with 3:55 left in the second period. But the Bruins goalie made a critical miscue in the third, turning the puck over near the left post, and that led to Teravainen’s short-handed goal that put Carolina back up by two with 12:40 remaining.

“Huge mistake by me, and there’s the game,” Rask said. “The way I see it, it was just an early Christmas gift to the fellow Finns.”

Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for the Hurricanes, who broke out the throwbacks to celebrate their Hartford Whalers heritage, donning jerseys with the whale-tail logo for the first time since they moved to North Carolina in 1997 and left plenty of hurt feelings back in Connecticut.

While former owner Peter Karmanos Jr. preferred to leave the Whalers in the past, his successor, Tom Dundon, has fully embraced the organization’s old identity — stating his desire for a turn-back-the-clock game within weeks of buying the team in January.

And when Teravainen cut the Hurricanes’ deficit to 2-1 with 7:05 left in the first, they piped “Brass Bonanza” over the PNC Arena speakers.

“We wanted to just put everything out there, and work as hard as we can, and thank God we made it happen this time,” Teravainen said.

That catchy tune blared again three times in the second, twice courtesy of Aho. He tied it with a short-handed goal 89 seconds into the second, then scored the go-ahead goal with a kneeling-down shot from the slot at 7:11.

The nostalgia ran deep throughout this one, with chants of “Let’s go Whalers” occasionally breaking out during the game. And the latest twist to the Hurricanes’ post-victory celebration on the ice — after their coordinated claps, the players flopped to the ice as if they were beached whales.

“You’re laughing, so I guess (the idea) was good,” Aho said.

NOTES: Carolina C Jordan Staal was scratched with an upper body injury. ... A slightly less-intense version of one of those storied Bruins-Whalers fights took place early between Boston D Brandon Carlo and Hurricanes RW Andrei Svechnikov — who was born 3 years after the Whalers moved. ... Carolina will bring its Whalers throwbacks to New England for its game at Boston on March 5.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Play host to New Jersey on Thursday night.

Hurricanes: Visit first-place Washington on Thursday night.

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Carolina Hurricanes' Sebastian Aho (20) and Teuvo Teravainen (86) warmup in Hartford Whalers jerseys prior to their game with the Boston Bruins Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
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