PREVIEW: After 11-goal affair, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes to meet again

Feb 7, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Liam Foudy (19) carries the puck as Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Haydn Fleury (4) defends during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to slow the other team down is bound to be among the objectives for the Carolina Hurricanes and host Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

An all-out pace does not always tend to fit each opponent, so it can also be taxing.

Monday’s game is a rematch of Carolina’s 6-5 victory Sunday afternoon.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Hurricanes, check out #LetsGoCanes rumors, rankings, and news here.

“Just one of those weird ones,” Hurricanes forward Ryan Dzingel said.

The Blue Jackets, despite the loss, will be trying to duplicate what was one of their better offensive games as they matched their season-high for goals.

“Some good plays were made,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “It depends on how teams defend.”

There will not be much time to digest Sunday’s controversy, when an on-ice ruling was determined to be in error by the officiating crew. But an ensuing goal was allowed to stand for the Hurricanes, even though the remainder of a power play was taken away.

The Blue Jackets were naturally puzzled.

“It’s just so busy,” Tortorella said, regarding everything that happened and the need to quickly turn attention to the next game.

The scoring Sunday came in so many forms that even a Hurricanes defenseman scored for the first time this season when Brett Pesce notched a goal. Then they doubled it for blue liners when Dougie Hamilton scored what became the eventual game winner.

But the Hurricanes were just as interested in discussing developments at the other end of the ice, something that is likely to matter even more in the rematch.

“They compete and play a tight system,” Pesce said. “… We’ve got to bring our A-game.”

Four of the Hurricanes’ last five victories have come by one goal.

Columbus’ Patrik Laine scored two goals and seemed to set the tone at times. After the first meeting of the season between the teams, it’s clear to the Hurricanes that they have to be more diligent in tracking the Blue Jackets’ standout.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Blue Jackets, check out #5thLine rumors, rankings, and news here.

“We have to do a better job of taking that away, obviously,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

Laine, who has been on the ice for only four games this season, said shooting the puck is something that comes naturally, and he wants to shore up other areas.

“Winning my own puck battles, I feel that was better …,” Laine said. “Still not my best, but I’m sure it’s coming.”

There is a decision to be made for the Hurricanes by the time Monday’s game arrives. It marks the first time they will play on back-to-back nights since the injury to goalie Petr Mrazek that resulted in surgery. It’s likely that Alex Nedeljkovic could be in the nets so that James Reimer receives a breather.

Nedeljkovic has yet to make his season debut. He has six career games to his credit, including one against the Blue Jackets (with no decision in that appearance). Reimer has been Carolina’s only goalie used since Mrazek went out in the first period Jan. 30.

The Hurricanes see areas for improvement in the short 26-hour turnaround.

“I liked how we just kept coming back,” Brind’Amour said. “I felt like we didn’t stop playing. We’re still making some mistakes. We’re getting a couple of bad reads, guys are getting behind us. I thought we dug in. That’s what you have to do.”

Columbus has won five of its last seven meetings overall with Carolina.

–Field Level Media