The Jackets and Hurricanes faced off this evening in a rare 5:00pm start, with both teams missing key players for various reasons. After getting shelled by the Pens last night, the ‘Canes scratched Teuvo Teravainen and Noah Hanifin, and gave the start to Michael Leighton. The Jackets were without David Savard and Markus Nutivaara due to injury, while Matt Calvert was a healthy scratch.
Carolina came out with lots of pressure early, but it was the Jackets that would strike first, with Markus Hannikainen jamming the puck behind Leighton for his first career goal. His celebration was terrific, a truly feel-good moment for the kid who’s been shuttled back and forth between Columbus and Cleveland all season.
1-0 Jackets: Markus Hannikainen (Josh Anderson, William Karlsson)
There wasn’t much going for either team after the goal, but the Jackets would strike again at the 14:26 mark of the second. Dalton Prout, playing on the third pair with Scott Harrington, fed Scott Hartnell with a pass up-ice, and just inside the blueline Hartnell fired a change-up slapper past Leighton, a goal I’m sure the goaltender would like to have back.
2-0 Jackets: Scott Hartnell (Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington)
I thought the Prout-Harrington pairing was solid tonight. A few whoopsies here and there, but otherwise they did their job under difficult circumstances. The pair assisted on Hartnell’s goal, giving them their first points of the season.
The Jackets killed off a Zach Werenski near the end of the opening frame, with the penalty leaking over into the second period. It was the second period where the wheels fell off for the Jackets.
The team looked slow, dare I say disinterested, and they allowed the ‘Canes to claw back into the game. With Brandon Dubinsky in the box for holding, Sebastian Aho beat Sergei Bobrovsky after the puck got loose to the side of the net.
2-1 Jackets: Sebastian Aho (Elias Lindholm, Jaccob Slavin)
At 15:27, Jack Johnson got beat by Ty Rattie at the Carolina blueline, springing Justin Faulk on a two-on-one. Faulk kept the puck, firing a wrister past Bobrovsky to tie the game.
2-2: Justin Faulk (Ty Rattie)
It wouldn’t be until there was 3:42 left in the second that the Jackets would record their first shot in the period.
The Jackets were disorganized after the score became tied, but were given a golden opportunity at the end of the period with Ryan Murphy in the box with a double-minor for hooking and roughing. The penalty overlapped into the third, but the Jackets couldn’t convert.
Most of the third period was a lot like the ugly second, with Bobrovsky bailing his team out shorthanded early. Carolina continued to pressure, and were given too many powerplay chances, but Bobrovsky stood tall and kept his team in it.
They say good teams win even when they don’t deserve it, and the Jackets did just that tonight. Despite playing like garbage for most of the game, Sam Gagner undressed a Carolina defender at this blueline, before sending the puck over to Hartnell for the game-winner.
3-2 Jackets: Scott Hartnell (Sam Gagner, Dalton Prout)
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Jackets
Hey, two points is two points. For the time being, the Jackets are back in first place in the Division. They need to learn from this game and can apply the lessons right away, as they are in Ottawa tomorrow for another 5pm start.