PREVIEW: Carolina Hurricanes attempt to snap two-game skid vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Mar 2, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) and Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) react after a goal during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering multiple heartbreaks against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, the Carolina Hurricanes will try to rebound when they travel to Columbus for the rematch on Monday.

Warren Foegele’s sixth goal of the season gave Carolina a 2-1 lead at 15:47 of the third period. With just 29 seconds remaining in regulation, however, Seth Jones equalized for the Blue Jackets and forced overtime.

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The Hurricanes then twice thought they had the game won in the extra period. Martin Necas had a great scoring chance stopped on a robbery of a save by Elvis Merzlikins, and Dougie Hamilton’s apparent OT winner was reversed on video review due to an offside call.

Carolina even took the early lead in the shootout before Patrik Laine evened the score, and Oliver Bjorkstrand’s final marker gave Columbus a 3-2 victory.

“We were at the end of the vine a couple of times at the end, but we found a way,” Columbus coach John Tortortella said.

It was the second consecutive dramatic 3-2 win for the Blue Jackets over the Hurricanes, as Jones scored in overtime for another Columbus victory last Thursday.

Columbus is 4-7 this season in overtime/shootout games. The Jackets have played beyond regulation time in each of their last five (3-0-2) games.

Consistency has been an issue for the Blue Jackets for much of the season, but with a 5-2-2 record in March, Columbus is now even on points (33) with the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth and final Central Division playoff berth.

“I don’t think it’s a problem of effort; it’s just trying to nail down some results,” Tortorella said. “We’ve struggled in the overtimes and the shootouts, and we have found a way to get some points here.”

After stringing together eight consecutive wins, the Hurricanes are now 0-1-2 in their last three games.

“During our eight-game winning streak, there were probably games that we didn’t deserve to win and we won,” Foegele said. “Tonight, we deserved better. That’s just part of the game. … We don’t have that many days off to really dwell on it.”

After two games in Raleigh, this four-game set between the two teams now moves to Columbus for games on Monday and Thursday. The Blue Jackets are 3-2-0 against the Hurricanes in five previous meetings his season.

Hamilton recorded an assist Saturday to extend his career-best points streak to 11 games. Hamilton has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) over the course of his streak, which ties Mark Howe’s franchise record for the longest points streak by a defenseman.

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Alex Nedeljkovic will likely be in net on Monday, as per the Hurricanes’ usual pattern of alternating starts between James Reimer and him. Nedeljkovic is 5-1-1 with a .943 save percentage in his last seven games.

Merzlikins has started three of five games since returning from the injured reserve, and the goalie looked good in stopping 35 of 37 shots on Saturday. The effort could earn him another start on Monday, or the Jackets could go with Joonas Korpisalo, who also played well against Carolina in last Thursday’s victory.

Three of Jones’ four goals this season have come in the last two games. Jones has six points (three goals, three assists) in five games against Carolina this season.

Bjorkstrand has 11 points (five goals, six assists) over his last nine games.

–Field Level Media