The Carolina Hurricanes battled for 60 minutes in Columbus Monday night, but surrendered a late goal and dropped the back half of a back to back 3-2 against the Blue Jackets.
The Canes learned shortly before the faceoff that they’d be playing a man down, as Vincent Trocheck was out with a lower-body injury, and, due to cap issues, the team could not call a player up without putting an injured player on long-term injured reserve.
Despite that, the Canes played well, and were the victims of a couple bad bounces. Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn scored for Carolina.
Making his first start of the season and seeing his first action in almost a year, Alex Nedeljkovic was solid, stopping 19 of 22 Blue Jackets shots without much to fault him for on any of the goals.
With under five minutes to go in a back-and-forth third period, the Blue Jackets took the lead as Jack Roslovic weaved his way between Ryan Dzingel and Brett Pesce and beat Nedeljkovic on the backhand to make it 3-2 and give Columbus a lead it would not relinquish.
At the tail end of a first period in which the Canes were, for the most part, the better team, the Blue Jackets were the benefactors of a lucky bounce, as defenseman Scott Harrington’s shot bounced off Andrei Svechnikov in front and made it 1-0 Columbus with 1:36 left in the opening frame.
The Canes tied the game early in the second period with a fluke goal of their own, as Joonas Korpisalo went to poke check the puck as it rolled in on him, but, with Niederreiter crashing the net, it bounced off his shin and in to make it 1-1.
They don't ask how, they ask how many.— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 9, 2021
Nino Niederreiter scores his 5th goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the second period. pic.twitter.com/33QYUW11lV
With the Canes up a man in the second period, Cam Atkinson broke loose, but, despite the fact that he was not visibly in the clear on the defensive side of the red line with Dougie Hamilton back, was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped by Teuvo Teravainen. He made good on it, putting the Jackets up 2-1.
The Canes wasted little time tying it up, however, as McGinn swiped home a rebound on the backhand while falling away to extend his goal streak to three games.
Brock going ALL OUT for the tie pic.twitter.com/24HZhLX258— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 9, 2021
McGinn had a strong game with the goal, three shots on goal, a thunderous hit and a faceoff win to boot.
Nedeljkovic showed off his athleticism late in the second period, keeping things scoreless with a diving poke check.
Beauty of a poke check from Nedeljkovic pic.twitter.com/TQGNoZRhmd— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) February 9, 2021
Niederreiter almost made it 3-2 with under two minutes to play in the middle frame, but Korpisalo exploded across to make the point-blank save.
Sebastian Aho came inches from giving the Canes a lead about halfway through the third period, but rang a shot off the post.
The Hurricanes will be back in action in Dallas Thursday night.