Coming off a three-game skid, and back-to-back, hard-fought overtime losses to Columbus, the Carolina Hurricanes got back in the win column and a measure of revenge in a 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets Monday night.
Other than a couple poor power plays in the first period, there wasn’t much to complain about in this one, as the Hurricanes pretty much dominated from start to finish, and outshot Columbus 28-19.
Brady Skjei scored his first as a Hurricane in the first period, Martin Necas scored in his 100th NHL game, Jesper Fast potted a goal and assist and Sebastian Aho chipped in two assists for the Hurricanes.
Alex Nedeljkovic wasn’t asked to do much, but did everything asked of him as the team in front of him took care of business, making a few sharp stops and turning aside all 19 he faced for his second career shutout.
The Canes’ power play did not have its best night, going 0 for 2 on back-to-back opportunities in the first period, but the penalty kill was excellent, stonewalling three Columbus opportunities.
The Canes got a golden opportunity early with essentially four straight minutes of power play time, as towards the tail end of their first man advantage, Nick Foligno boarded Brett Pesce with a dangerous hit from behind, giving Carolina 22 seconds of a five on three.
Shortly after the failed power plays, a break finally went the Hurricanes’ way in this series, as, after Columbus hit the post, Skjei pounced on the rebound of an Aho shot to pot his first as a Hurricane and make it 1-0.
BRADY SKJEI FIRST HURRICANES GOAL ALERT— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 22, 2021
Sebastian Aho took a big shot, and the rebound went all the way out to Skjei who fired home his first of the season. pic.twitter.com/mpVRjtYln6
In an interesting twist, Skjei’s last goal before this game came against the Hurricanes on Feb. 21, 2020.
The Canes extended their lead about seven minutes into the second on a goal from another former Ranger. Following a great cycling shift from the line of Fast, Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov, Fast found an opening in the slot to tip a Brett Pesce point shot past Joonas Korpisalo and make it a 2-0 game.
Joonas Korpisalo couldn't react Fast enough to stop Jesper.— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 23, 2021
Jesper Fast deflects Brett Pesce's point shot into the net to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead! pic.twitter.com/hhSlaJLhqV
Carolina wasted little time pushing its lead to three, as just 2:19 later, Necas finished off a beautiful give and go play with Sebastian Aho to make it 3-0 in his 100th NHL game. Dougie Hamilton picked up a secondary assist on Necas’ goal to extend his point streak to 12 games, setting a new franchise record for longest point streak by a defenseman as he passed Mark Howe.
Wow.— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 23, 2021
Martin Necas and Sebastian Aho team up to give the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead in Columbus! pic.twitter.com/8DndE2Foxl
The Canes continued to apply pressure and not allow much the rest of the way, cruising to one of their most complete victories of the season.
This four-game set will conclude in Columbus Thursday night.