COLUMBUS - After the Columbus Blue Jackets tied the game late in regulation, the Carolina Hurricanes bounced back in overtime to secure a 4-3 victory in the fourth straight meeting between the two teams.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
The trio of Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas and Dougie Hamilton is pretty dangerous in 3-on-3 overtime.
About 80 seconds into the extra period, Necas poked his stick out to defend a Jack Roslovic pass. Necas then raced to chase down the loose puck in the neutral zone. He shrugged off Zach Werenski to get off a backhand chance that Joonas Korpisalo bodied down but couldn't control. Necas picked up the rebound, and with Korpisalo having drifted out of his crease, he centered the puck to Aho, who confidently fired in a one-timer into the yawning cage.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Necas, Aho combine for overtime winner
"It was a very tough game overall for us. We didn't play the way we wanted to play, and everything was very choppy," Nino Niederreiter said. "We found a way to win, which was definitely huge."
Aho scored the game-winning goal, but the only reason the Canes were in a position to snag two points in this game was the goaltending of Nedeljkovic, who earned a second straight start after pitching a 19-save shutout on Monday.
Nedeljkovic saw nearly double the work on Thursday, as he posted 33 saves on 36 shots against a Blue Jackets team that was hungry and buzzing, especially in the latter 40 minutes.
Whenever the Canes needed a big save, Nedeljkovic was there.
"I saw a lot of key saves that kept us in the game. Every period, he had three or four great saves," Aho said. "Sometimes when the team isn't playing that well, your goalie can bail you out. Ned for sure won this one for us."
Maybe his best work came on Max Domi's breakaway attempt in the third period.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Nedeljkovic robs Domi with glove save in 3rd
In his last nine starts, Nedeljkovic is 7-1-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and two shutouts.
"He was great. He got us the two points tonight, plain and simple," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "He made some real big saves and allowed us to just kind of hang around and get two points."
Martin Necas continues to dazzle.
Late in the second period, Necas hopped over the boards and twirled his stick in his hands, as if he knew he was about to make some magic happen. And then he did.
Necas raced to a loose puck and accelerated as he cruised around the defense. He circled around the back of the net at top speed, and with his left knee rotating on the ice, he stuffed in the puck on a wrap-around, a beauty of a highlight reel goal.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Necas scores on impressive wraparound in 2nd
"I know how good he is," Aho said. "Our team knows how good he is, but maybe for the media and other teams, maybe he's underrated. Our team for sure knows how good he is."
With his team skating flat in the third period, Brind'Amour juggled the lines to search for some sort of spark, and he found just that.
Jordan Staal won an offensive-zone faceoff - as he's known to do - and Niederreiter helped it back to Dougie Hamilton at the point. Hamilton swung it over to Jaccob Slavin. From the top of the left circle, Slavin put the puck toward the net, and Niederreiter turned his blade to deflect it in.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Niederreiter scores, Hamilton extends streak
Niederreiter is tied for the team lead in goals with 14 in 32 games this season, equaling his goal total in the last 36 games of the 2018-19 season after he was acquired by the Canes.
After the Blue Jackets came out humming in the second period and Zach Werenski opened the scoring, it took the Canes just 46 seconds to answer back and tie the game at one.
Brady Skeji's point shot didn't get through, but Paquette located the puck in the slot, spun and popped a shot past Korpisalo.
Video: CAR@CBJ: Paquette knots game 1-1 with goal in 2nd
"We knew we needed to bring a good shift and bring intensity," Paquette said. "We had a good shift in the O-zone and ended up scoring a goal."
13: With the secondary assist on Niederreiter's goal in the third period, Hamilton extended his franchise-best point streak by a defenseman to 13 games (2g, 13a). It's the longest active point streak in the NHL and the longest by an NHL defenseman this season, and now equals the longest by any NHL player (Auston Matthews) this season.
14: Aho and Niederreiter are tied for the team lead in goals with 14 through 32 games.
6: The Canes earned at least a point in all four games against the Blue Jackets in this miniseries to finish with six of a possible eight points in this stretch.
Quote of the Night
"It was two good teams playing the right way. Not a lot of room. Definitely were griding games, every single one of them. We expect to win every single one of them, but these last two were big ones." - Sebastian Aho
The Canes host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night before hitting the road again for two games in Chicago.