RECAP: Alex Nedeljkovic gets shutout as Carolina Hurricanes blank Columbus Jackets

Mar 25, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic (39) makes a save on a Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner (38) shot attempt during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Jesper Fast collected a goal and an assist, Sebastian Aho had two assists, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 19 saves as the visiting Carolina Hurricanes shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

Brady Skjei and Martin Necas scored Carolina’s other goals.

The 25-year-old Nedeljokvic recorded the second shutout of what has become a breakout season. With Petr Mrazek injured, Nedeljokic has received regular playing time and delivered a 7-2-2 record and .923 save percentage in 11 starts.

The Hurricanes ended a three-game winless streak (0-1-2). The second of the losses was in overtime to Columbus and the third was in a shootout, also against the Blue Jackets, to start the four-game series between the teams. They meet again Thursday in Columbus.

Related: NHL trade rumors – Latest buzz for 2021 free agency

On Monday, however, the Hurricanes controlled much of the game, beginning with Skjei’s goal at 9:13 of the first period. Skjei blasted home the rebound after Aho’s initial shot was stopped by Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

It was Skjei’s first goal of the season, and his first in 38 games as a member of the Hurricanes. The defenseman was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers in February 2020.

At 6:39 of the second period, Fast re-directed a Brett Pesce shot to extend the Hurricanes’ lead.

Necas, who was playing in his 100th NHL game, scored next. Less than three minutes after Fast’s marker, Necas took a pass from Aho and buried the shot for his sixth goal of the season.

The Blue Jackets suffered their third shutout loss of the season. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Max Domi each hit the goalpost on the Jackets’ best chances of the game.
Korpisalo stopped 25 of 28 shots.

Aho has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) over his last 11 games.

Related: NHL power rankings – Panthers roar to No. 1 ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs

Dougie Hamilton recorded an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games, the longest current streak in the NHL. Hamilton also broke Mark Howe’s franchise record for longest points streak by a defenseman.

–Field Level Media