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Systems Analyst: A Tough Night in Columbus

A pair of Columbus third period strikes, including one in the closing minutes, sank the Hurricanes on Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Hurricanes dropped another Metro division showdown Thursday night in Ohio, this time a 3-2 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets. After entering the final frame even at one, Columbus broke the tie on a Cam Atkinson wrister five minutes into the third.

The play begins in the neutral zone with Markus Nutivaara chipping the puck off the glass. Warren Foegle overskates the rolling puck. Then both Sebastian Aho and Jake Gardiner drift towards Alexander Wennberg who threads a pass to Atkinson. Erik Haula is a step behind Atkinson, giving the Columbus winger just enough space to release a shot that beats Petr Mrazek on the blocker side.

In the clip below you can notice Gardiner sliding towards the boards awaiting a rolling puck. Gardiner is too deep to play Wennberg and Aho gets caught in no-man’s-land between Wennberg and Atkinson, allowing the pass to Atkinson. Mrazek is out on top of his crease and appears to have a good angle, but is just beaten by a great shot.

After Jordan Staal evened the score, it looked as though the two sides may play for the extra point and an overtime frame. But an outstanding shift from Columbus forward Eric Robinson led to the game winner from captain Nick Foligno.

The Hurricanes outnumber Robinson on the initial puck battle in the corner, but the Columbus winger pesters Staal and forces him to cough up the puck. Andrei Svechnikov helps out low and attempts to carry the puck out, but is harassed by Robinson and former Hurricane Riley Nash and turns the puck over.

Staal attempts to recover and knocks the puck to a teammate, but it finds Foligno who is streaking off the bench. Tevor van Riemsdyk fails to recognize Foligno off the line change and is stretched too wide to recover once Foligno intercepts.

In the clip below the distance between Edmundson and van Riemsdyk is clear, allowing Foligno to streak through the open lane in the slot and beat Mrazek with a glove side snipe.

While the loss was disappointing, the most concerning development for Carolina was a second period injury to Norris candidate Dougie Hamilton. It was all around a rough night, marked by lapses in defensive coverage, and those will be even more magnified now with Hamilton out of the lineup until further notice.