It was a goaltenders dual, again, in the second meeting this season between the Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes.
Sergei Bobrovsky held Columbus in the game early, Cam Ward kept Carolina ahead late and that was enough for the Hurricanes to grind out a 3-1 victory Friday night at Nationwide Arena, which started back-to-back sets for each team.
Carolina (6-5-3), which got two goals from Jordan Staal, heads back home to host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Columbus (9-7-1) hits the road Saturday to play its first game at Little Caesar's Arena in Detroit, needing a win against the Red Wings to end a four-game winless streak (0-3-1).
"They press you," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said of the Hurricanes, who outshot Columbus 12-8 in the first period and 21-15 through the first 40 minutes. "They're a very fast team. They're willing to take chances. They sit on you. They had really good sticks tonight. So, give them some credit. I hated our start. We've got to try and figure out our starts."
Despite another sleepy start, the Jackets scored the only goal in the first.
Brandon Dubinsky's second goal of the season made it 1-0 at 5:35, but that was the only scoring for Columbus on another frustrating night full of missed opportunities.
Ward, who had a 3.39 goals-against average prior to the game, made 25 saves on 26 shots and 18 of 18 in the final two periods. Columbus steadily took over the game as it progressed, but just couldn't find a way to end its losing skid.
Bobrovsky did his best to give them a shot. It just wasn't enough on its own.
"If we don't have 'Bob' back there, it might be out of reach in the first period," said defenseman Zach Werenski, who had two shots, five shot attempts and a minus-2 plus/minus rating. "It's nice to have him back there, but we've got to find a way to win."
They'll give it another try in Detroit, but until the puck drops in that one, here's how this one got away:
(Corsi, scoring chance data per naturalstattrick.com)
Goals: CBJ - Brandon Dubinsky (Tyler Motte, Markus Hannikainen), 5:35; CAR - None
Shots: Hurricanes 12, Blue Jackets 8
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Hurricanes 64.9% (24-13), Blue Jackets 35.1% (13-24)
Scoring chances 5v5: Hurricanes 9, Blue Jackets 7
High-Danger chances 5v5: Blue Jackets 5, Hurricanes 1
3:29 - Carolina's Teuvo Teravainen fired a long wrist shot from above the left face-off circle in the Blue Jackets' zone. It was the Hurricanes' third shot of the game. Columbus had none.
QUOTE: "First three shifts, it's a turnover and it just plays right into their speed game. They played at 140 feet on their first three shifts, and it gets them going." - Tortorella
5:35 - GOAL CBJ - Prior to the game, Blue Jackets forward Tyler Motte talked about wanting to generate more offense from the defensive zone through the neutral zone. It took a little more than five minutes for him to get that done.
Following a nice save by Bobrovsky to stop Carolina's Hayden Fleury on a backhand, Motte got the puck at the Columbus blue line. He immediately spotted Dubinsky in the neutral zone, fed a tape-to-tape pass approaching the Carolina blue line and Dubinsky did the rest. His second goal of the season was scored with a deke to the backhand.
Just that quick, the Blue Jackets held a 1-0 lead.
QUOTE: "Even though our [defensive] zone's been good at times, I think we can create a little more, me personally, as well, off our re-attacks through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone, creating a little more offense instead of always having to dump it in and get our cycle going. [Dump-and-chase] can be a huge part of our game, and is a huge part of our game, but I think we can create a little more through the open ice." - Blue Jackets forward Tyler Motte
11:00 - Coming out of a break, the Hurricanes won a face-off in the Columbus zone and worked the puck below the goal line. A quick pass out to the left circle yielded a shot attempt that was deflected to the right of the crease, where Hurricanes forward Joakim Nordstrom took a whack at it from close range. Bobrovsky lunged to his left, dove and deflected it with his glove to protect the Jackets' lead.
13:14 - The Blue Jackets were outshot and didn't control the puck much in the first period, but a shot by Atkinson at this point was worthy of mention. He appeared to be hemmed in, skating in the left circle, but quickly spun to send a backhand shot that Ward had to save.
14:21 - Jack Johnson chased down a puck in the defensive zone, and Hurricanes forward Josh Jooris got his stick caught up in Johnson's jersey. Johnson wore Jooris on his back like an overcoat, which prompted the game's first penalty.
The Blue Jackets' ongoing power-play issues continued. They didn't get a shot on goal and spent much of the 2:00 advantage trying to get the puck through the Hurricanes' 1-3 setup in the neutral zone.
QUOTE: "It's one of the tougher teams to get through. It's very similar to their [5-on-5] game. They're very arrogant, as far as standing up on that blue line and taking a chance, and they've got really good sticks." - Tortorella on the Hurricane's neutral-zone PK pressure
16:18 - At the tail end of the power play, Alexander Wennberg worked the puck down low to Boone Jenner, who took it to the net, turned to shoot and was drilled from behind by Fleury. Jenner's arm appeared to hit the right post, and he was knocked into Ward - whose stick went flying. No penalties resulted.
18:07 - Jenner attempted to jump a pass in the neutral zone, but the puck got past him. It resulted in the Hurricanes getting an odd-man rush, which led to Sebastian Aho's one-time snap shot from the slot. Bobrovsky stopped it, keeping it 1-0.
It was yet another big stop by "Bob," who was outstanding.
Goals: CAR - Jordan Staal (Noah Hanifin, Teuvo Teravainen), 3:50; CBJ - None
Shots: Hurricanes 9, Blue Jackets 7
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Hurricanes 53.6% (15-13), Blue Jackets 46.4% (13-15)
Scoring chances 5v5: Hurricanes 8, Blue Jackets 7
High-Danger chances 5v5: Hurricanes 5, Blue Jackets 2
1:49 - Each team had a good scoring chance stopped by the opposing goalie's glove. First was Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin, who skated the puck right between the circles for a hard wrist shot 1:24 into the period. Ward saw it and just got his glove up in time. Twenty-four seconds later, Justin Faulk took a slap shot at the Columbus net from the right wing, but Bobrovsky gloved that one. The game remained 1-0.
3:50 GOAL - Carolina forced Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski into a turnover in the Blue Jackets' zone, and it led to the Hurricanes' first goal. The puck came out to defenseman Noah Hanifin in the slot, and he used a shot pass to fake out Bobrovsky. Hanifin deftly slid the puck to Jordan Staal for a redirect that tied the game, 1-1.
8:48 - A bobbled puck, an aggressive forecheck, a good scoring chance and then another good save by Bobrovsky. That's what happened after Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno reached up to grab a puck over his head and dropped it at his feet. Foligno couldn't control it, Aho stole it and soon took a hard wrist shot from the slot. The puck wobbled a bit, but hit Bobrovsky in the chest.
10:33 - The Hurricanes kept buzzing around the Columbus zone. Bobrovsky kept making saves to prevent them from taking a lead. Faulk carried the puck over the blue line and sent a wrist shot toward the left side of the net, but Bobrovsky turned it away with his blocker.
13:16 - Motte wanted to get more jump in his step, after he felt his energy level might've dipped in a couple recent contests. It showed through the first 40 minutes. At this point, he outhustled the Hurricanes to a loose puck in the Carolina zone and drew a holding penalty on defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, his former teammate with the Chicago Blackhawks.
QUOTE: "He did what he needs to do. He needs to forecheck. [He] drew a big penalty for us, [and] we don't do anything with it. He had some good minutes for us." - Tortorella on Motte's performance.
The Blue Jackets didn't score on the ensuing power play, but looked much better than their first one. They put three shots on goal and Oliver Bjorkstrand hit the post with a shot.
17:52 - Bobrovsky made two more dandies before the period expired. The first, with 2:20 left, was against Staal's wrist shot from the low slot. It knuckled a bit, but "Bob" stayed with the puck and made another chest save.
Twelve seconds later, Aho drifted into position for a one-timer from the right circle, but Bobrovsky read it perfectly. He slid over and trapped the puck between his pads.
Goals: CAR - Jordan Staal (Teravainen, Aho), Brock McGinn (Justin Williams, Derek Ryan), 19:35 EN
Shots: Blue Jackets 11, Hurricanes 8
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 53.3% (16-14), Hurricanes 47.7% (14-16)
Scoring chances 5v5: Blue Jackets 10, Hurricanes 5
High-danger chances 5v5: Blue Jackets 7, Hurricanes 2
Overall Corsi: Hurricanes 55.8% (53-42), Blue Jackets 44.2% (42-53)
Overall 5v5 Scoring chances: Blue Jackets 24, Hurricanes 22
Overall High-Danger chances: Blue Jackets 14, Hurricanes 8
2:21 - After each team put three shots on goal, Jenner was sent off for tripping. It was the first time the Blue Jackets were shorthanded, and they handled it like they usually do. Not only did Columbus kill off Jenner's penalty, but the Jackets outshot the Hurricanes 2-0 during the 2:00 span.
6:07 - Atkinson got a breakaway off a fortunate bounce, skated at top speed toward the Hurricanes' net and attempted to score with a quick backhand-forehand move. Ward sprawled and got his left skate on the puck to keep it 1-1. It was the first of two great chances in the period for Atkinson, who wasn't able to beat Ward on either one.
8:54 GOAL - The Hurricanes took the lead. Once again, it was Staal with the goal. Once again, he was the beneficiary of a nice pass. Teuvo Teravainen, who grabbed a loose puck in front of Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray, chipped a soft feed to Staal, and he batted it past Bobrovsky for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
11:45 - Atkinson's second great scoring chance materialized after he drifted to the front of the net unchecked. Seth Jones was doing the "rover" thing behind the net, and fed a perfect pass to Atkinson for a snap shot. Ward made a huge initial save, and then made a second great stop to keep Dubinsky from scoring his second of the game. Carolina's lead stayed intact.
17:41 - Werenski got off a shot Ward stopped, and it was the second of just two shots the Blue Jackets got on goal after Atkinson and Dubinsky nearly tied it. McGinn scored into the empty net not long after to seal the win for Carolina.
QUOTE: "Give them credit. We had a great rebound in the third period, with Cam and Dubi, bang-bang, and Ward makes a couple of great saves there. Cam has a breakaway, [Alexander Wennberg] has a great chance. It took half a game to get ourselves going, but then we slowly got going. It's hard to win when you're not playing a full 60." - Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
(All times ET)
Hurricanes: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (7 p.m., FS-CR, WGN, NHL.TV)
Blue Jackets: At the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m., TV: FS-O, Fox Sports Go; Radio: CD102.5 FM, BlueJackets.com)