The Hurricanes lost decisively tonight in Columbus as their record on the road fell to an abysmal 6-12-6. After Sebastian Aho gave the Canes an early lead, the Blue Jackets struck back with two goals in a span of 35 seconds, and they never looked back, chasing Cam Ward in the second period as rookie Alex Nedeljkovic made his NHL debut in a high stress situation.
The Hurricanes came out somewhat flat footed in the first period, allowing the Jackets multiple scoring changes early on. Their defensive play tightened up as the period went on and they were able to strike first on an Aho backdoor goal set up beautifully by Teuvo Teravainen. However, Boone Jenner walked right past Justin Faulk and slipped the puck around Ward’s pad just a matter of seconds later. Less than a minute later, Brandon Dubinsky scored a goal that Cam Ward would certainly love to have back. The Canes ultimately went in the locker room a goal down after one period.
Just 4 minutes into the second Dubinsky scored again in a similar spot, on a puck he essentially just threw at the net. Ward did not see the puck until it was too late. Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse, Sam Gagner threw a puck at Ward’s glove side that he couldn’t contain and Lukas Sedlak connected on the rebound to make it 4-1.
That was the last shot Ward would see as Nedeljkovic replaced him making his NHL debut. Nedeljkovic, a native of the Cleveland suburb of Parma two hours north of Columbus, had family and friends in the stands to watch, likely few if any of whom were anticipating anything more than taking some pictures of him on the bench.
The remainder of the second period saw both teams swap powerplays with little scoring chances each way. The Canes again went into the room trailing, this time 4-1.
In the third period the Hurricanes looked increasingly out of sync. Skinner drew a hook early on that the team ultimately squandered by conceding a too many men on the ice penalty. The Hurricanes seemed to be completely out of gas as the third period dragged on. The silver lining in this game is that young Nedeljkovic played calmly and confidently in his unexpected NHL debut.
The Canes have two days off now before they return home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.
Rank the Performances
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