Sebastian Aho's hat trick leads Hurricanes past Predators

Jan. 13 (UPI) — Carolina winger Sebastian Aho tallied three goals and an assist to lead the Hurricanes past the Nashville Predators 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena.

It was Aho’s second career hat trick, and first time this season he scored three goals in a game. The All-Star center has notched five goals in the last two contests.

Aho leads Carolina with 21 goals this season.

“The first one was kind of a lucky bounce there on the breakaway,” Aho told reporters after the game. “The second one was an easy tap in from a great pass, and unselfish play on the empty-netter.”

The Hurricanes (22-18-5) picked up their seventh victory in the last eight games. Nashville (27-16-4), which had earned at least one point in seven consecutive contests, dropped its third game out of the past six.

Aho started the scoring with a breakaway goal 15:44 into the first period. Saku Maenalanen notched his second goal of the year, giving the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.

Predators forward Colton Sissons answered with a score 2:48 into the second period. Carolina responded to Sissons’ tally with three consecutive goals.

Aho scored on the power play, Lucas Wallmark had his fourth goal of the season and Justin Williams added another power-play goal to give the Hurricanes a commanding 5-1 lead midway through the second frame.

Predators star Filip Forsberg stopped the bleeding momentarily with back-to-back goals. He netted a short-handed score late in the second period and added his 18th goal of the season late in the third.

Aho ended any comeback attempt with his third goal 16:59 into the final period.

Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek saved 20 shots and won for the third time in four starts. The Predators pulled goaltender Pekka Rinne in the second period. He stopped 15 of the 20 shots he faced. Juuse Saros replaced Rinne and saved all 13 shots.

Nashville hosts the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes travel to play the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

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