Martin Necas and the Carolina Hurricanes certainly would relish another fast start Saturday when they host the New Jersey Devils in Raleigh, N.C.
Necas recorded a natural hat trick in the first period of Carolina’s 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
“I waited long enough and I was hoping to get one soon,” said Necas, who was playing in his 330th career NHL game. “Good start of the game. It’s always nice to get a hatty with a win.”
Necas became the second player in franchise history to record a natural hat trick in the first period. Cory Stillman accomplished the feat against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 5, 2007.
“(Necas) is a talent, we know that,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Sometimes it goes away for a little while, but it’s always there. When you’re that good a player, you can have games like that, where you just explode.”
Necas has eight points (seven goals, one assist) in his past seven games since returning from a five-game absence due to an upper-body injury.
Seth Jarvis scored a goal to extend his point streak to six games (one goal, six assists) on Thursday, and Teuvo Teravainen notched a career-high four assists.
Teravainen collected a goal and an assist as Carolina jumped out to a three-goal lead before holding on for a 3-2 victory over New Jersey on Jan. 25.
Sebastian Aho also tallied in that game and leads the team with 18 goals, two more than Necas, Jarvis and Teravainen.
Pyotr Kochetkov likely will receive a third straight start Saturday after Antti Raanta sustained a lower-body injury while coming on in relief of the 24-year-old Russian.
While the Hurricanes have ascended in the Metropolitan Division due to a sterling 12-3-1 record over their past 16 contests, the Devils have fizzled with eight losses in their past 12 games (4-7-1).
Ondrej Palat scored twice and captain Nico Hischier added a goal and an assist in New Jersey’s 5-3 setback to the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
“We had a good first, the second period was bad and, in the third, we were chasing so it’s frustrating,” Palat said. “We need to come out strong and we need to be patient.”
Jesper Bratt set up three goals on Thursday to boost his team-leading totals in assists (35) and points (55). Bratt, who is riding a six-game point streak (four goals, five assists), also scored a goal in the Devils’ first encounter with the Hurricanes.
Star Jack Hughes registered four shots on goal and a minus-3 rating on Thursday in his return from an 11-game absence due to an upper-body injury.
“He really didn’t practice with us and probably that hurt him,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “I thought his energy was good. Some of his responsibilities, he was a little off.”
Vitek Vanecek has yielded 11 goals in his past three starts after turning aside all 11 shots he faced in relief of Nico Daws against Carolina.
–Field Level Media
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