The Columbus Blue Jackets got timely contributions from Sergei Bobrovsky and their bottom-six to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. The win gave the Blue Jackets their league-leading 31st win of the season. The loss gave the Hurricanes three losses in a row.
Scott Hartnell scored twice, including the game winner midway through the third period. Markus Hannikainen opened the scoring for his first NHL goal. Bobrovsky made timely saves all night, finishing with 34 saves despite giving up two second-period goals. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk tallied for the Hurricanes.
The Blue Jackets allowed the Hurricanes to generate eight of the first nine shots of the game. The Hurricanes wanted to put Friday behind them as quickly as possible. Although they had the shots advantage, it was the Blue Jackets who drew first blood, thanks to some hard work by a newly formed line.
Hannikainen banged in a rebound from the side of the net to open the scoring. His first NHL goal made it 1-0 Blue Jackets. From there, the Blue Jackets were the more dangerous team.
Just under 10 minutes later, Hartnell blasted the puck past a startled Michael Leighton. Hartnell was out near the blue line. Ryan Murphy got caught out of position trying to switch with his defensive partner. It opened a lane for Hartnell to shoot at. He got all of it to make it 2-0.
With just under a minute to go in the period, Zach Werenski took an offensive zone penalty. It was right inside the blue line in a place where there was no need for that kind of play. Although the Hurricanes didn’t score, they had 1:02 remaining to start the second period. The Hurricanes held a slight 13-12 shots advantage after one.
The Blue Jackets managed to kill the carryover penalty off. That’s the good news. The bad news is they went over 18 minutes from the end of the first period to the end of the second period with exactly zero shots on goal. In that time frame, the Hurricanes tied the score.
First it was Aho who took a wonderful pass from Elias Lindholm. That made it 2-1 on the power play. Then the Hurricanes generated a 2-on-1 rush led by their all-star Faulk. He elected to shoot and beat Bobrovsky with a perfect shot to even the score.
The Blue Jackets did next to nothing in the second period. They did get a power-play chance late in the period thanks to two penalties by Ryan Murphy. He first knocked Hannikainen down from behind. Then as the whistle blew, they called him for hooking as well. The Blue Jackets didn’t score in the second, but had 2:21 of carryover time to start the third.
The Blue Jackets still couldn’t solve the Hurricanes penalty kill. While the penalty wound down, Alexander Wennberg took an interference call. That was the first of three penalties called against the Blue Jackets in the third period. Despite that, the Blue Jackets found a way to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Just over halfway through the third, Hartnell scored his second goal of the night on a 2-on-1 rush. Hartnell neatly chipped the puck over Leighton to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 lead. Then they needed to hold on for dear life.
With just under four minutes left, Sam Gagner took an offensive zone penalty. The Blue Jackets rose up and killed the penalty and the hopes of the Hurricanes. Bobrovsky made it hold up. Despite outshooting the Blue Jackets 15-6 in the last 20, the Hurricanes could not get the tying goal. The win gave Bobrovsky his league-leading 28th win.
CBJ – Markus Hannikainen (1) assisted by Josh Anderson and William Karlsson
CBJ – Scott Hartnell (12) assisted by Dalton Prout and Scott Harrington
CAR – Sebastian Aho (12) assisted by Elias Lindholm and Jaccob Slavin
CAR – Justin Faulk (9) assisted by Ty Rattie
CBJ – Scott Hartnell (13) assisted by Sam Gagner and Dalton Prout
THW Three Stars
First: Scott Hartnell (2 goals, including game winner)
Second: Sergei Bobrovsky (34 saves on 36 shots)
Third: Markus Hannikainen (First NHL goal)
Columbus Blue Jackets at Ottawa Senators
Canadian Tire Center, 5:00 PM EST on Sunday, Jan. 22
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go and TSN 5
2016-17 Meeting: Senators defeated Blue Jackets 2-0 on Jan. 19
Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center, 7:00 PM EST on Monday, Jan. 23
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Carolinas and CSN Mid Atlantic
2016-17 Meeting: Hurricanes defeated Capitals 5-1 on Nov. 12