Analysis from Columbus
→ Despite the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes erased a two-goal deficit in the second period, they were bested by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in the third meeting between the teams in a span of 12 days. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk tallied goals for the Canes, who have now lost three straight games, while Scott Hartnell's two goals propelled the Blue Jackets to their 31st victory of the season.
"It was a pretty good effort. We had no effort last night, nothing really, right? Maybe 10 minutes worth. It's a young group. You never know how guys are going to bounce back after a night like that," Faulk said. "We've just got to find a way to get out of this."
"It was a better hockey game by us, no question," Jordan Staal said. "I thought we did a lot of good things. If we continue to play like that against good teams, we're going to find ways to get points."
Video: CAR Recap: Aho, Faulk score in 3-2 loss in Columbus
→ Just past the midway point of the third period, Sam Gagner stick-handled his way through the Canes' defense and threaded the puck over to Hartnell, who got his stick on it to direct it in for his second goal of the game. That was the difference in the third period, as the Blue Jackets broke the 2-2 stalemate and defeated the Canes for the second time this week.
"It's not the finish we wanted," Faulk said. "At 2-2 in the third, you obviously want to be able to get a point out of it on the road."
The Hurricanes had their looks in the third, but Sergei Bobrovsky was strong. He finished the night with 35 saves, one of his finest coming in the first minute of the third period. Joakim Nordstrom and Jordan Staal raced off an a shorthanded odd-man rush, and Nordstrom dished to Staal for the shot, but Bobrovsky slid over to turn it away. The Canes also had a power play opportunity in the final four minutes of regulation, but they were unable to convert.
→ As disappointing as the first period was, the second period could have just as easily followed suit. Instead, the Hurricanes found life and a couple of goals to get the game tied up.
"Come in here and get down two, at that point you've just got to take it shift-by-shift and segment-by-segment to try to generate something," Faulk said. "It's good on us to get back and get it tied. Some teams fold at that point."
"You've got to stay with it, right?" Peters said. "There's lots of hockey left, still 40 minutes left to play, so we did a good job doing that, getting back in the game and limiting the chances they had."
Aho's 12th goal of the season broke a 0-for-16 streak for the Hurricanes power play. Elias Lindholm made a nifty play to bat the puck out of mid-air and over to Aho, who tallied his first power-play goal to bring his team within a goal.
"I thought we got back to our game in the second period," Staal said. "We had a big power play goal to get us going, and it went from there."
Later, Ty Rattie won a battle along the boards in the defensive zone to spring Faulk on a 2-on-1 rush. Faulk elected to hold on to the puck, fired and scored to tie the game at two.
"It starts in the D zone, right?" Peters said.
It was a dominating middle frame for the Hurricanes, who held the Blue Jackets without a shot until there was just 3:42 left in the period.
→ The first period followed a somewhat script to last night's opening 20 minutes. The Hurricanes had an early advantage - at one point out-shooting Columbus 9-1 - but then the Blue Jackets found the net twice to take a lead into the intermission.
Markus Hannikainen opened the scoring with his first-career goal, as he located a loose puck near the crease and banged it in, another instance in which the Hurricanes need to be heavier in and around their own crease.
With just over five minutes left in the period, Hartnell walked over the blue line uncontested, wound, fired and scored to make it a 2-0 Blue Jackets advantage.
The Hurricanes ultimately limited the Blue Jackets to just 20 shots on a goal, a crucial tenet in their game.
→ Following last night's 7-1 lopsided loss, Peters made wholesale changes to his lineup, delivering a stern message of accountability. Teuvo Teravainen, Noah Hanifin and Matt Tennyson, who were all minus-3, came out of the lineup, while Rattie, Klas Dahlbeck and Ryan Murphy drew back in.
→ The Hurricanes and their dads will now head to Washington, the site of the Canes' fifth consecutive game against a Metropolitan Division opponent, for a Monday night match-up with the Capitals.
"It's definitely a big game," Staal said. "We're going to need some points and get off this string."
"Huge," Faulk said. "We need to bring our game and make it tough on them. That's what we're good at. It's a good chance for us to show that we're a confident group and have enough confidence to put an end to it."