Coming off of an opening night loss to the New York Islanders back in Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes went searching for redemption in Columbus on Friday night.
On the road, for the Blue Jackets’ home opener, the Hurricanes got in the win-column for the first time in the 2018-19 season, by a final score of 3-1.
The Canes came out fast. The opening period, as a whole, was fast and unorganized - for both clubs - after a long delay due to lighting and fog issues in Nationwide Arena...
Young children aren't good at sitting still, so they have allowed the Hurricanes to skate around until the game starts. pic.twitter.com/9zEvfoYK8N— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 5, 2018
The game hasn't even started yet, but we have our first penalty.— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 5, 2018
High-sticking on Sebastian Aho. We'll have to check and see if Martin Necas drew any blood. pic.twitter.com/jT7AI8Cev2
The game did, eventually, start. And, thankfully, the lights were in working order so that we could all see Jordan Martinook snipe home his first goal as a Hurricane just 1:43 into the hockey game.
Andrei Svechnikov forced a neutral zone turnover and fed Martinook, who was the trailer on the play, and the former Coyote beat Sergei Bobrovsky and gave the road team a 1-0 lead.
Just over ten minutes later, though, the Jackets responded. Brandon Dubinsky snuck one through the legs of Curtis McElhinney and tied the game at one - a score which would hold after the end of the first twenty minutes. The opening frame featured 28 shots on goal - 15 for Carolina and 13 for Columbus.
In the second period, The Blue Jackets stayed strong, but they were thwarted time after time by the 35-year-old waiver claim who joined the team on Tuesday.
Curtis McElhinney. WOW. pic.twitter.com/WJCJW0To17— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 6, 2018
Curtis McElhinney! Have a night. Another marvelous save. pic.twitter.com/M0yeyoilXd— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 6, 2018
The Hurricanes did reward him for his hard work, in the form of Sebastian Aho’s first goal of the season. Michael Ferland found him with the centering pass for his first point as a Hurricane.
It took Aho 15 games to score his first goal of the season in 2017-18. It took him just 4.5 periods this time around.
This duo struck again in the third period. Aho carried the puck into the Columbus zone, fought off a defender, threw a terrific pass back to Ferland, and the former Flame one-timed it home to make it a 3-1 game.
That’s how it ended.
So, after a disappointing result came from an encouraging effort on opening night, the Hurricanes will be very happy with both areas after Friday’s win on the road.
It was a big night of firsts for Carolina. Svechnikov got his first NHL point, Martinook and Ferland scored their first goals in the red and white, Aho got his first goal of the year, McElhinney got his first win in his first appearance for the Hurricanes and, most importantly, Rod Brind’Amour got his first win as an NHL head coach.
The Canes made a lot of mistakes on Friday, but the effort they put forth from start to finish covered up a lot of mistakes. Also, we saw how important it is to have a good goaltender. If McElhinney doesn’t have the game that he had, we aren’t talking about a Hurricanes win.
But, here we are.
Carolina improved to 1-0-1 on the year after a back-to-back sequence against a pair of Metropolitan Division foes, and they’ll go up against a third division rival on Sunday when they host the New York Rangers.
Through two games, there’s a lot to like with this team. There’s also some things not to like. Mistakes have been made, both on the ice and behind the bench.
But, hey, “we’re building”. And you gotta start somewhere.
A special moment for Coach— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) October 6, 2018
He earned it pic.twitter.com/ttcVEAaIFZ