Aho leads Canes to win over Montreal
Two days after taking a nasty looking spill in Boston, Sebastian Aho was back on the ice Monday and practicing with the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Aho suffered a lower-body injury Saturday against the Bruins, twisting his right leg and falling backward as he battled defenseman Kevan Miller for the puck on the boards. The Finnish forward, tied for the team scoring lead with 33 points, did not return to the game after the injury late in the first period of the Canes’ 7-1 loss.
The Canes did not practice Sunday. Aho did not appear to be limited in Monday’s practice, taking line rushes with center Jordan Staal and winger Teuvo Terevainen and going through all the team drills.
“I’m good now,” Aho said. “It felt good skating.”
The Canes (19-14-8) left later Monday for Tampa. Fla., where they will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Canes coach Bill Peters, speaking to the media, did not fully commit to having Aho in the lineup.
Peters said he received “mixed reviews” on how well Aho physically handled the practice. He said Aho would skate again Tuesday morning and a game-time decision would be made on whether Aho plays against the Lightning.
Peters said he watched the replay of Aho’s injury after the first period Saturday at Boston’s TD Garden, saying, “It looked real bad when we looked at it. I don’t think it’s as bad as it could have been, but we’ll see.”
Aho, who called it a “weird” play, was evaluated Sunday by team doctors and participated in the annual “Skate with the Canes” fan event Sunday at PNC Arena.
The Canes, through Sunday’s games, were one point below the playoff cut line in the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins hold the second wild-card playoff spot with 47 points, but have played three more games than the Canes.
Peters would like a bounce-back game that mirrors the one the Canes had a few days after being hammered 8-1 by the Toronto Maple Leafs – a 4-1 road win Dec. 21 over the Nashville Predators.
“I expect the same response (Tuesday), a real good effort from everybody,” Peters said.
The Hurricanes on Tuesday activated veteran forward Lee Stempniak off injured reserve and returned forward Lucas Wallmark to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Stempniak, who had 16 goals and 24 assists last season, has not played this season because of an upper-body injury.