COLUMBUS - The Carolina Hurricanes were edged, 3-2, by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second half of a back-to-back set.
Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn tallied goals for the Canes, but Jack Roslovic netted the game-winning goal with 4:36 left in regulation.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
With less than five minutes to play in regulation, Roslovic caught a pass in stride in the neutral zone and weaved his way through Brett Pesce and Ryan Dzingel to then beat Alex Nedeljkovic with a backhander. In the blink of an eye, a closely contested match was decided with one rush up the ice, and despite the Canes' best efforts, they were unable to secure a point in a game where they probably deserved at least one. That's just how the puck bounces sometimes, though.
"We were working hard to come back. Our defenseman thinks he has help, and the help thinks that it's his guy. It happens. It shouldn't, but it's certainly not a lack of effort," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We really worked hard tonight being short-staffed on a back-to-back. I thought we grinded it out and probably deserved better."
Weird Bounce(s) of the Night
It's been a weird season so far, and this game was on brand, as the two teams traded weird bounces for their first goals of the game.
The Blue Jackets struck first late in the first period. Scott Harrington fired off a shot that was going well wide of the net, but the puck instead bounced off Andrei Svechnikov's back and floated in, despite Nedeljkovic's best efforts to reach back and glove it out.
The Canes answered back with a weird bounce of their own in the second period. The puck popped out from along the far boards into the slot, where Joonas Korpisalo tried to poke it out of harm's way. Instead, he sent it careening into the oncoming Nino Niederreiter, and the puck bounced off his leg and floated in for his fifth goal of the season.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Niederreiter tips home loose puck
Weird Thing of the Night
Jordan Staal won the faceoff on the Canes' first power play of the game, but as Sebastian Aho tried to tap the puck up to Teuvo Teravainen, Cam Atkinson jumped in the lane and scampered away with the puck. As Atkinson exited the zone and chipped the puck ahead, Teravainen reached out and impeded his progress. Instead of sending Teravainen to the penalty box, though, the officials awarded Atkinson a penalty shot, a curious decision given Dougie Hamilton's positioning - he was essentially matching him stride-for-stride, though Atkinson had the more direct line in front of him - and Atkinson's location on the ice.
"I don't know if I've seen it in that scenario. From my end, it was hard to tell where he was in relation to the D," Nedeljkovic said. "Either way, it looked like I was getting a straight-on breakaway."
But, hey, given that the Canes were the beneficiaries of a call that was admittedly blown the night prior, the Blue Jackets were bound to get the benefit of the doubt in a similar situation. Atkinson then scored on the penalty shot to put the Blue Jackets ahead, 2-1.
Plus: Alex Nedeljkovic
Alex Nedeljkovic last played a competitive hockey game 11 months ago, but the 25-year-old didn't show any signs of rust or nerves in his first start of the season and fifth of his young NHL career.
Nedeljkovic, a native of Parma, Ohio, returned to the building where he made his NHL debut four years ago, when he made 17 saves on 17 shots in relief.
There wasn't much Nedeljkovic could do on the three goals he surrendered tonight, given that one was a fluke bounce and the other two were breakaways. In sum, it was a solid first showing of the season, despite the final result and his own self-critique.
"Not good enough. We did a good job defensively, not giving up anything. I've got to find a way to make a save. They got a fortunate bounce on the first and then two breakaways. They beat me clean," he said. "I've got to find a way to make one of them if not both of them and find a way to bail the guys out there."
"We gave up two breakaways, essentially. You can't really fault him there," Brind'Amour said. "I thought he was good the rest of the way."
Minus: Down a forward
Vincent Trocheck was unable to play due to a lower-body injury. With the Canes already pressed up against the salary cap and receiving no relief from the four players on the injured list, they had to dress 11 forwards and six defensemen.
"I don't know how it all works," Brind'Amour said. "I just know that's how we had to do it."
Brind'Amour added that Trocheck "thought he might be able to play," and as for his status moving forward, Brind'Amour is "hoping it's not too long."
3: Brock McGinn tallied his third goal in as many games to tie the game at two in the second period.
Video: CAR@CBJ: McGinn lays out to put home rebound
1-3-0: In their four two-game sets so far this season, the Canes have been victorious just once in the second game.
19:29: Sebastian Aho led the 11 Canes' forwards in ice time with 19:29. He recorded a season-high 21:16 against Dallas on Jan. 31.
Quote of the Night
"He plays hard every night. He's very consistent in that. He's getting some bounces that he doesn't normally get. … We're playing him with more opportunity in a different role right now. He's been really good." - Rod Brind'Amour on McGinn
It's back to Raleigh for the Canes, who will then depart on Wednesday for a two-game set in Dallas.