Jesperi Kotkaniemi scores twice, Hurricanes beat Jets 5-3
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jesperi Kotkaniemi had two goals and an assist, Jack Drury scored his first goal of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Jaccob Slavin and Brady Skjei, also scored for the Hurricanes, who’ve endured sudden offensive woes and the loss of a star player during the past week. Kotkaniemi’s second goal of the game was an empty-netter with four seconds left.
Frederik Andersen made 21 saves just hours after the Hurricanes announced that All-Star forward Andrei Svechnikov will have surgery for a torn knee ligament and miss the rest of the season.
Dylan DeMelo, Nikolaj Ehlers and Nino Niederreiter scored for the Jets, whose two-game winning streak ended. David Rittich made 20 saves.
About five minutes after the Jets closed within a goal, Drury put the Hurricanes back up by two with 10:26 remaining in his first game back from the American Hockey League.
Niederreiter, a former Hurricane, scored his 22nd goal with 4:22 to play to make it 4-3.
Svechnikov, the team’s lone All-Star this season, was injured Saturday night against Vegas, and went to New Jersey for a game the next day. He was scratched from that game as the severity of the injury became more apparent. He’ll have reconstructive surgery Thursday on his right anterior cruciate ligament.
A 22-year-old top-line forward, he’s tied for second the team with 55 points and third with 23 goals. He has been a key part of Carolina’s four consecutive playoff berths.
When shown on the overhead scoreboard sitting in the press box during the second period, Svechnikov received a standing ovation.
NOTES: Jets D Josh Morrissey, the team’s second-leading points producer with 67, missed his second game in a row with lower-body injury. … The Jets beat the Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime in Winnipeg on Nov. 21.
Jets: Host Boston on Thursday night.
Hurricanes: At Toronto on Friday night.
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Bob Sutton, The Associated Press