The Carolina Hurricanes sent 2021 off in style.
A 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night was the cherry on top of a strong year on the ice and everything was looking good.
But then they then opened 2022 like they were hungover.
So thank goodness that the team made sure to hydrate and carb-load the night before, because once the ball got rolling for Carolina, it didn’t stop.
The opening 20 minutes was a brutal headache for the Hurricanes who found themselves in a 3-0 hole despite outshooting the Blue Jackets 18-9 and outchancing them 33-12 in the opening frame.
The one side of the equation could be chalked up to Columbus’ rookie netminder, Daniil TarasovIt who was playing very solid hockey, but on the flip side, it was apparent that the issue for the Hurricanes wasn’t the goaltending. Sure, you would have liked another stop or two by Antti Raanta, but the Hurricanes’ defense — despite limiting the total number of chances — was giving up quality look after quality look.
Zach Werenski weaved from blueline to goal line and finished on the backhand, Adam Boqvist joined the rush, got behind Carolina’s defense and finished that feed, and then Gustav Nyquist was sprung all alone for a shorthanded breakaway, which he buried.
And it didn’t seem like things were going to go much better in the second period as early on, despite Frederik Andersen replacing Raanta in net, the Blue Jackets extended the lead to four after Alexandre Texier tucked in a pass off yet another odd-man rush.
But the thing about this Carolina team, is that they don’t ever give up and that’s when the game actually started to get interesting.
The first goal came from Steven Lorentz who tipped home a Tony DeAngelo slap pass and moments after that, Brady Skjei jumped into the rush and finished off an Andrei Svechnikov feed.
So the second period came to a close with the Canes at least in a position to make a solid push the rest of the way.
And push they did.
After killing a Columbus power play off, Skjei scored again on a nasty snipe from a tremendous feed by Brett Pesce. They were within one.
Not long after that, Nino Niederreiter was in the right place at the right time as he banged home a fortunate bounce off a dump in that careened off the end board glass behind the net and right to him in the slot. It was tied.
Sixteen seconds after that, Ethan Bear wired a puck that found its way in. The Canes led by one.
Then Lorentz cleaned up a rebound in front off a Seth Jarvis spin-o-rama attempt. The Canes led by two.
And with the Columbus net empty, Andrei Svechnikov got goal number 10 on the season as he scored the extra point and sealed the win. The Canes won by three.
It was the first time since 1989 that the franchise had overcome a four-goal deficit and it might have been one of the best examples of the Hurricanes organizational depth as Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Jaccob Slavin were all held pointless despite the seven goal outpour.