The Blue Jackets had a day off after a much-needed 6-4 win over the Islanders. The Hurricanes were on the second leg of a back-to-back after an OT win against the Sabres to close a six game road trip. The Jackets should have had an edge there, right?
Columbus did start strong but Carolina struck first, in the fourth minute. Jordan Staal fired from a tight angle, but the puck deflected off of Jack Johnson’s stick.
Jack Johnson puts one past the goalie...unfortunately, it's his own goalie, and the Canes lead 1-0 early. pic.twitter.com/4INHPDpu9g— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) December 17, 2017
Columbus continued to dominate the pace of play and were rewarded with a goal in the tenth minute. Cam Atkinson dumped the puck into the offensive zone, and Oliver BJORKSTRAND hustled after it. He passed the puck back and Cam fought off two Canes to recover it and center it. Alexander Wennberg was perfectly positioned to get his stick on the puck and deflect it through the legs of Scott Darling.
Alex Wennberg finds the back of the net and it's tied 1-1 in Carolina. pic.twitter.com/HSdq7YTQli— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) December 17, 2017
That’s two games in a row that line has played well. That will be huge for this team if 28/10/13 can become a second reliable goal-producing line.
As good as Wennberg’s play was there, he played very poorly on what would be the deciding goal. He whiffed on standing up Jeff Skinner at the blue line, then he moved at half speed in the defensive zone, unable to get his stick on a pass to Derek Ryan, then was out of position to mark Noah Hanifin in front of the goal.
Good News: The Jackets dominated the even strength shot chart, winning 62.2% of shot attempts, 60.42% of shots on goal, and 55.56% of high danger shot attempts.
Bad News: Sometimes despite all of that it just isn’t your night. Carolina did their thing and made it very difficult to create sustained offensive possessions once they had the lead. Once again, Columbus failed to generate second chance opportunities. That was a common theme from the players and Torts after the game - while also giving credit to Carolina for how they played.
Good News: In a weird scheduling quirk, that’s the last time we have to see the Hurricanes this season. Meanwhile we still haven’t seen Philadelphia or Pittsburgh at all.
Up Next: The road trip continues on Monday in Boston, before a crucial midweek back-to-back against Toronto and Pittsburgh.