Hurricanes’ late breakdown gives Blue Jackets 3-2 win

Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic celebrates his game-winning goal during Columbus’ 3-2 home win Monday over the Hurricanes. (Jay LaPrete / AP Photo)

For the second straight day, the Hurricanes played a tight game in Columbus. This time, the Blue Jackets came out on top thanks to a late goal by Jack Roslovic for 3-2 win. Carolina got goals from Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn but fell to 7-3-0 on the season.

Three Thoughts

1. The online chatter throughout the NHL during the game was about Columbus’ recently acquired sniper Patrik Laine being nailed to the bench by Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella for the second half of the game a day after scoring two goals against Carolina.

It was the other guy the Blue Jackets got in the trade that proved to be the difference.

Roslovic, playing his seventh game since he was acquired by his hometown team as part of the Laine trade, weaved through both Brett Pesce and Ryan Dzingel and slid a backhand under Alex Nedeljkovic (19 saves) for the game-winner with 4:36 remaining.

Roslovic now has two goals and five assists since returning to Columbus, a silver lining on the darkening cloud that already hangs over Laine and the Blue Jackets.

2. The first two goals of the game came off bizarre bounces.

Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the final minutes of the first period with a goal off a Carolina player. Blue Jackets defenseman Scott Harrington’s shot hit Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov — who was trying to clear Mikhail Grigorenko out from in front of the net — on the shoulder, and the puck barely crossed the goal line before being snatched by Nedeljkovic.

Carolina tied it just over six minutes into the second on an equally flukey bounce. Joonas Korpisalo — who made 22 saves playing for the second straight day — tried to poke check a loose puck away from a charging Niederreiter. Instead, the puck hit the Carolina forward’s shin and caromed into the net for Niederreiter’s fifth goal of the season.

3. A day after the officials and league were lambasted for their mistakes involving an offside goal on a Carolina goal, the refs were at again Monday.

With the game tied 1-1 and the Hurricanes on the power play, Teuvo Teravainen tripped Columbus’ Cam Atkinson just outside the Blue Jackets’ blue line. It was a clear penalty, but the refs awarded Atkinson a penalty shot despite the fact the trip happened on the other side of the red line and Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton was alongside Atkinson and ready to race him up the ice.

Atkinson scored to give the Blue Jackets the lead, though the Hurricanes got the goal back just over two minutes later when McGinn scored.

“I’ve never seen that, a penalty shot called from the blue line,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Usually they give you a chance to see if the guy’s gonna catch him or whatever, but I guess that’s the rule now. I’m not sure.”

Number To Know

19 — Players dressed by Carolina after Vincent Trocheck was a late scratch. The Hurricanes did not have the available cap space to recall a player, leaving them with just 11 forwards for the second game of a back-to-back.

One possible solution that wasn’t used could answer an even more pressing question. The Hurricanes could have placed injured goalie Petr Mrazek on long-term injury, freeing up the needed cap space. But that move would require Mrazek to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days.

Carolina has been vague about the timetable for Mrazek’s return following thumb surgery. He was injured Jan. 30 and has missed five games. Missing five more would take Mrazek to Feb. 20, but that would not be enough to satisfy the 24-day requirement if he was placed on LTIR. But perhaps the Hurricanes think Mrazek will be ready to return either by then or before the Feb. 24 game that would fulfill LTIR 24-day requirement.

Given that Carolina’s goalies have allowed three times as many goals (nine) in the last two days as Mrazek has in 182 minutes this season (three), playing one game with 11 forwards isn’t as much of a sacrifice when it could mean getting your top goalie back sooner.

They Said It

“Either way, it looked like I was getting a straight-on breakaway, it was just delayed a minute. … I got to find a way to make a save on that or that last one.”

— Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on facing Atkinson’s shootout attempt and later Roslovic’s game-winning shot.

Plus

Brock McGinn, Hurricanes forward — Brind’Amour considers McGinn a crucial piece to his team’s identity — a player who understands his role and will sacrifice for the good of the team. Brind’Amour likes McGinn even more when he is scoring, too.

The gritty forward found the back of the net for the third straight game and fourth time this season, diving to sweep in a rebound just outside the Columbus crease.

He also had the hit of the night, knocking Oliver Bjorkstrand clean off his feet at the Carolina blue line.

“He plays hard every night, and he’s very consistent in that,” Brind’Amour said. “I think he’s getting some bounces that he doesn’t normally get. He didn’t get much last year, and now he’s gotten a few. … He’s been really good.”

Minus

Ryan Dzingel and Brett Pesce, Hurricanes forward and defenseman — Dzingel is one of a handful of Hurricanes players that have shaken off a disappointing 2019-20 and started off this right. But a miscommunication between Dzingel and Pesce with under five minutes remaining in a tie game allowed Roslovic to weave through the two Carolina players and score the winning goal.

“I know exactly what happened,” Brind’Amour said of the mixup. “We’re working hard to come back and our defenseman thinks he’s got help, and the help thinks that ‘it’s your guy, take him,’ and it just, it happens. It shouldn’t, but it’s certainly not a lack of effort.”