Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Blue Jackets

Andrei Loktionov got his first two points with the Hurricanes in Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Columbus. - Jim McIsaac

Despite being outchanced all night, the Carolina Hurricanes used a combination of timely scoring and fantastic goaltending to get out of Columbus with a 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets.

Andrei Loktionov got his first two points with Carolina and Anton Khudobin made 46 saves to lead then Hurricanes to a 3-1 win Tuesday over division foe Columbus.

Three Observations

1. Loktionov has been coming on for the Canes, and he finally broke through Tuesday with a goal and an assist. His goal came on the power play when he chopped in a rebound to give Carolina a 2-0 lead early in the second period. He then added a primary assist on Patrick Dwyer’s slap shot goal later in the period for the fifth multi-point game of his career. Loktionov isn't yet the answer going forward as a top-three center for the Hurricanes, but he took a step in the right direction vs. the Jackets.

2. With Ryan Murphy going down with an upper-body injury in the first period, the Hurricanes defense was taxed with playing with just five guys. That led to four blue liners (Andrei Sekera, Jay Harrison, Brett Bellemore and Ron Hainsey) logging more than 20 minutes on the night, It won't go down as a memorable performance, but the defense didn't allow any sure things to get past Khudobin, and their goaltender did the rest.

3. Even mediocre teams have to win sometimes, and that was the case Tuesday. Carolina was manhandled by Columbus, but won the special teams battle and converted on two odd-man rushes to build a three-goal cushion. Throw in a tremendous effort by Khudobin and you have a recipe for a win. Still, it didn't feel like coach Kirk Muller's "fiery" post-practice rant really changed much about Carolina’s game — the Hurricanes simply cashed in on their opportunities and Khudobin put on a show to get two points.

Number To Know

10 — Games without a goal for Eric Staal, matching his longest streak without a tally this season. Staal is on pace for just 19 goals (16 in 66 games so far this year) and 62 points, which would be the lowest output of his career aside from the abbreviated 48-game 2012-13 season.

Plus

Anton Khudobin — A shutout would have sealed this honor for Khudobin, but the Blue Jackets managed a goal in the final minute to blemish an otherwise perfect night from Carolina’s goaltender. But Khudobin’s postgame interview — when he corrected TV reporter Chantel McCabe’s mistake on his career-high mark for saves, followed by a wry look at the camera — gives him the nod.

Minus

Eric Staal — Carolina’s captain looked out of place on brother Jordan’s wing, managing just one shot attempt and spending a lot of time — like the rest of the Canes — in his own end. As previously mentioned, his goalless streak has no reached 10 games.

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