The Columbus Blue Jackets used a quick flurry of goals at the end of the first period to blow away the Hurricanes 4-1 at Nationwide Arena Tuesday night. The win gave the Blue Jackets 30 wins on the season. They became the first team in the league to reach 30 victories. They also climbed back to the top of the NHL standings. They’re tied with the Washington Capitals, but have played fewer games.
Brandon Dubinsky scored twice and linemate Boone Jenner added a goal and an assist. Lukas Sedlak scored an insurance goal later in the second period. Sergei Bobrovsky returned from illness and stopped 24 of 25 to earn his league-leading 27th win of the season. Ryan Murray added two assists and played a good, overall game for the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets needed a strong start against a team in the Hurricanes who won four straight coming in. In the early going, space was hard to come by. Both teams made it a point to squeeze the neutral zone. There wasn’t much in the way of prime scoring chances. The Blue Jackets did get a power play.
But the Hurricanes top-ranked penalty kill made it look easy in killing the penalty. The Blue Jackets had no shots on goal. Then both teams resumed their defensive mindset. The only somewhat good chances came as a result of turnovers.
Then, in a flash, the floodgates opened. The teams combined for three goals in 46 seconds.
First it was Sebastian Aho converting after Teuvo Teravainen made a great cross-ice pass. The Hurricanes seemed primed to buckle down after gaining the lead. Then Boone Jenner took matters into his own hands with a strong power move around the defense and slipped a perfect shot past Cam Ward to even the score at one.
Then 35 seconds after Jenner scored, Brandon Dubinsky flies down the right side and surprises Ward with a perfect shot to the far post. That made it 2-1 Blue Jackets after the first period. The Blue Jackets held a 15-9 advantage in shots thanks to their late surge to end the period.
The Blue Jackets continued their first-period momentum by scoring just 3:53 into the second period. Again, the line of Jenner, Dubinsky and Atkinson striked. This time, Ward was caught deep in his net. His own player Jordan Staal set an inadvertent screen in front of him and Dubinsky’s innocent-looking shot beat Ward over the shoulder. That made the score 3-1.
Then the fourth line got involved in the scoring. Lukas Sedlak from his knees made a great play on a rebound and beat Ward to make it 4-1. This goal chased Ward from the game. In came recently called up Alex Nedeljkovic to mop up. Shots favored the Hurricanes 7-6 in the period.
The third period saw no scoring. The Hurricanes couldn’t get any momentum going thanks to a couple of ill-timed penalties. First it was a too many men call where the six Hurricanes skaters were well away from the bench. Then Viktor Stalberg tripped Scott Hartnell with just 4:15 remaining, sealing the Hurricanes’ fate on this night.
The Blue Jackets effectively took the slot and neutral zone away from the Hurricanes all night, especially in the third period. The Hurricanes managed just nine shots on Bobrovsky in the third. The Blue Jackets stayed aggressive and fired 15 shots on Nedeljkovic. To his credit, he stopped all the Blue Jackets shots. That’s a pretty good debut for Nedeljkovic.
The Hurricanes have just six road wins this season in 24 tries after tonight. The Blue Jackets improved their home record to 17-4-1. These same teams will meet again on Saturday at Nationwide Arena to see who can take their mini three-game series in January.
CAR – Sebastian Aho (11) assisted by Teuvo Teravainen and Lee Stempniak
CBJ – Boone Jenner (9) assisted by Cam Atkinson and Ryan Murray
CBJ – Brandon Dubinsky (4) assisted by Ryan Murray
CBJ – Brandon Dubinsky (5) assisted by Boone Jenner
CBJ – Lukas Sedlak (5) assisted by Sam Gagner and Scott Hartnell
THW Three Stars
First: Brandon Dubinsky (2 goals)
Second: Boone Jenner (goal, assist)
Third: Ryan Murray (2 assists)
Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets
Nationwide Arena, 7:00 PM EST on Thursday, Jan. 19
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go and TSN 5
2016-17 Meeting: First meeting of the season
Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes
PNC Arena, 7:00 PM EST on Friday, Jan. 20
TV Broadcast Channels: Root Sports Pittsburgh and Fox Sports Carolinas
2016-17 Meeting: Penguins won 3-2 on Nov. 28