After the immense buildup to the Stadium Series outdoor game, a letdown after it seemed almost inevitable for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Or as Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour put it, “It’s back to reality here.”
For the Canes’ Andrei Svechnikov, it was back to scoring goals again — finally. After going 19 games without one, the All-Star power forward had two goals and an assist Tuesday in a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Seth Jarvis had a goal and two assists, Sebastian Aho scored his 25th and goalie Frederik Andersen picked up his 14th win as the Canes (38-10-8) took charge against the Blues (26-28-3), who lost their third in a row.
Blues defenseman Justin Faulk scored in the second period, his first goal against his former team, but Andersen made some scrambling stops in the second and early in the third, finishing with 35 saves.
Aho punched in a short shot late in the second period and Jarvis made it 4-1 in the third after Aho forced a turnover, Jarvis making a quick move for the score – Aho with the assist.
After the Canes’ emotional 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday before 57,000 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium, it would have been understandable if their effort was lacking a little Tuesday.
But it was not.
Svechnikov had Canes fans up and roaring early, Andersen remained stout in net and Carolina killed off its three penalties.
Svechnikov’s last goal before Tuesday came Dec. 30 against Florida, but he had not not been able to find the net – despite 67 shots – in 2023.
Brind’Amour recently moved Svechnikov to Aho’s line opposite winger Seth Jarvis, saying he was looking to get Svechnikov’s scoring jump-started again. Svechnikov had his chances and had 14 assists in the 19-game goal drought, and Brind’Amour often has cited Svechnikov for his solid all-around play.
Maybe it was some brotherly pressure that led to Tuesday’s outbreak. Svechnikov’s older brother, Evgeny, scored goals in his last two games for the San Jose Sharks, the second Monday against Seattle.
Svechnikov said he was watching, jumping up and down to celebrate when his brother scored.
There had to be a sigh of relief Tuesday after his first goal. Svechnikov carried the puck into the right circle, had an open shot as the Blues’ Ivan Barbashev was late arriving on the backcheck and beat Jordan Binnington with a forehand.
Svechnikov, in a predatory mode, stayed on the prowl in the first and his second goal was an easier one. After Aho won a faceoff in the Blues zone, Brent Burns got the puck to Seth Jarvis in front. Binnington stopped Jarvis but Svechnikov had an open net for his 21st of the season and a 2-0 lead.
Svechnikov nearly got a third of the night and a hat trick, but just missed with a lacrosse move in the third.
Faulk scored in the second after a Canes turnover in their zone, and Binnington was terrific much of the period in keeping it a 2-1 game. He denied Jesper Fast, Aho and Jordan Staal on good chances, but Aho was open at the post to tap in a loose puck for a 3-1 lead.
It has been a rough season for the Blues, who have lost eight of the past 11. Captain Ryan O’Reilly, their emotional leader, recently was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the lineup has been constantly juggled.