Sebastian Aho scored his second goal of the game 1:16 into overtime to send the Carolina Hurricanes to the second round with a 4-3 comeback victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night in Game 6.
The Hurricanes will play defending champion Tampa Bay, the No. 3 seed in the Central Division.
Carolina won its fourth straight game with a chance to end a series. The Hurricanes are 12-10 in franchise history in clinching games, and they improved to 5-2 on the road in Game 6 with a 3-2 lead.
Aho stunned the largest crowd to see an NHL game this year when he scored so quickly after overtime started for the fourth straight game in this series. Defenseman Jacob Slavin shot the puck, and Aho tipped it in.
WATCH | Sebastian Aho’s overtime goal lifts Carolina past Nashville:
Brock McGinn and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist apiece for Carolina. The Hurricanes now have won four straight games with a chance to clinch a series.
Nashville led 3-1 in the second period and 3-2 in the third when the Hurricanes spent much of the period in front of Nashville goalie Juuse Saros.
Hamilton tied it with 6:01 left in regulation after Saros stopped the Canes’ first 13 shots in the period. He scored from the right edge off a pass from Jaccob Slavinn off a faceoff.
Nashville fell to 1-10 in series when trailing 3-2, and the Predators now are 7-8 in Game 6s.
Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Johansen and Nick Cousins scored for Nashville. Saros finished with 27 saves.
The Predators once again had the largest crowd yet this year in the NHL with 14,107 in the stands after another increase in capacity. CeCe Winans, a 12-time Grammy winner, handled the national anthem, and at least three catfish hit the ice as she finished.
Nashville also scored the first goal of the game for the fifth time in this series with Cousins deflecting Erik Haula’s shot past Alex Nedeljkovic to crank fans up even louder. Carolina answered back quickly, tying it at 1-1 with McGinn skating around the net and shooting from the edge of the right circle at 4:20.
Granlund put Nashville back up 1:13 into the second, tapping in Ryan Ellis’ shot from the left edge of the crease behind Nedeljkovic. Johansen gave Nashville its first multi-goal lead of this series at 2-1, deflecting Roman Josi’s shot in at 7:32 of the second with the Predators on a 5-on-3.
Aho pulled the Hurricanes to 3-2, deflecting Dougie Hamilton’s shot from the point at 13:34 with 15 seconds left on the man advantage. Hamilton got the puck off an attempted clear by Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm.