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Canes start slow, finish off strong

The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in their season opener at PNC Arena by a final score of 4-1.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Another season, another home opener win for the Carolina Hurricanes who easily handled the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-1 victory Wednesday night at PNC Arena.

It wasn’t the prettiest win by any stretch of the imagination, but once the Hurricanes found their game midway through the second period, it was smooth sailing to the end.

“It wasn’t a great start for sure,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “I thought Columbus had the better of the play in the first period. Kind of expected that to be quite honest because we hadn’t played in a long time and we had a few guys who hadn’t played in a really long time. At the end of the game though, I thought our third period started looking a little more like how we want it to and I thought we kind of were able to at least, I wouldn’t say take over the game, but certainly put it home.”

The Hurricanes looked flat footed out of the gate and it took them a while to really find their stride as they went along and perhaps it took a few wakeup calls to jolt them into action.

Maybe it was the turnover to start the second period that led to Patrik Laine getting an open look from between the circles to kick off the scoring or perhaps it was a near Cole Sillinger goal that ended up being called back due to offsides.

Whatever the reason, once the Hurricanes finally got into gear, they took it to the Blue Jackets.

The Hurricanes started to pile on the shots and it wasn’t long before Carolina got on the board.

Hopefully everyone took out some Seth Jarvis stock as the 20-year old kept the ball rolling picking up the first goal for the Hurricanes with a nifty backhand in tight.

The sophomore is on the door of breaking out for a huge season and this is just the first step of what could be a tremendous season.

Outside of Jarvis, it was also a big night for Martin Necas who had a three-point night, with a goal and two assists to push his team to victory.

“Last season I had a little bit of a tough start,” Necas said. “This season, I tried to build myself in the summer to be a different player this year. Obviously it’s good to have a good start and it was a good win for the boys.”

Necas flashed his talent, utilizing multiple different areas of his skill set for each of his points.

On his first primary assist, Necas showed off his skating and stickhandling to help execute a zone entry, as well as pull multiple Blue Jackets in towards him before dishing off a pass to Brady Skjei for the one-timer blast.

And for his goal, Necas showcased a bit of something he hadn’t been prone to prior. A tenacious forecheck on fellow Czech, Jakub Voracek, allowed Necas to pull the puck free and maintained possession for Carolina leading to Necas being in the right place to slam home a feed.

The Hurricanes will be relying on Necas and that new look second line to stay consistent if they want to be a dominant force this season.

“We want everyone to get going, but I think him especially is one of the guys that we know there is so much more there,” Brind’Amour said. “For him just to feel good about his game is going to be huge.”

It was also a big game for Frederik Andersen who was making his season debut and first regular season game since he tore his MCL last season against the Colorado Avalanche in April.

“Obviously I had a bit longer break than the rest of the guys, but I’m just happy to work my way back and that I’m healthy enough to play,” Andersen said. “Really fun to be out there and playing again.”

The big Dane made 31 saves and not all of them were your routine glove and pad saves.

“We were a little behind the 8-ball in terms of the pace of the game, but Freddie played really, really well tonight,” Brind’Amour said. “Made some real big saves at key times.”

He kept the team in the game which allowed them the time to find their stride.

“[Andersen] was for sure our best player tonight,” Skjei said on his netminder. “That one save before my goal, I think it was wide open and he made a huge save there. That was the turning point of the game probably and there was no doubt he was our best player tonight.”

It’s the start to another long season and while there are still some things to work on, the Canes are starting off on the right foot.

“At the end of the day, you want to get the win,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s the first thing. And you want to see if we’re starting to play the way we want to. That was encouraging. Good news for me is that we got the win, but we got a ton to work on. You could see it. A lot of the new guys just where they need to be, not quite there and that’ll catch up.”

The Carolina Hurricanes will now kick off a five-game road trip starting Friday night against the San Jose Sharks.