Alexander Semin had two goals for the Hurricanes, but goaltender Cam Ward was beaten five times on 31 shots. Jeremy Welsh and Eric Staal also scored for Carolina. Jay Harrison and Michal Jordan each had two assists.
"It was a start. There are still some things to be ironed out, and the best way to do that is through playing games," Harrison said. "Tomorrow, we'll come back, revisit it and continue to build."
Rookie center Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist and defenseman Tim Erixon had two assists for Columbus. Curtis McElhinney stopped 18 of 22 shots before being replaced midway through the game by Mike McKenna, who stopped all 12 shots he faced.
Carolina built a 4-2 lead before Columbus responded with three unanswered goals. Ryan Johansen cut the deficit in half via the power play at 13:39 of the second before Gaborik tied it 93 seconds into the third. Sean Collins scored what proved to be the game-winner with 13:34 left in regulation.
"We started to unravel a little bit, but I liked how we got ourselves under control and found our composure," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.