Just like Tuesday’s matchup it was Joonas Korpisalo (29 saves) back in net for Columbus while the Ohio native, Alex Nedeljkovic (33 saves), was in the blue paint for Carolina.
Apropos as it was, it was these aforementioned players who were the story early. Korpisalo had 10 saves before the first 10 minutes of the opening period were gone. Carolina was given the game’s first power play and being the no. 1 overall unit in the league, that’s a tough task for any team to face.
However, the Hurricanes never sustained any offensive pressure, never even getting a shot at the net. Conversely, the Blue Jackets power play actually looked like a power play? No scoring but imagine what a really good power play looks like. The Canes’ first chance looked like what we see from Columbus mostly.
A second Hurricanes chance was also thwarted, and Eric Robinson had the best scoring chance of the period on a penalty kill breakaway. However, the puck just went wide on the quick move backhand.
Both teams were end-to-end to start the second and it seemed only a matter of time one of these teams would solve the goaltender. Robinson found another breakaway and was denied. Cam Atkinson had a rolling puck that just sailed over the net as well.
This first period and change was entertaining for a game with no score, and that’s not something we can say often. Breakaways and end-to-end action March madness.
The scoreless tie finally ended at 7:03 when Zach Werenski (4) scored on a puck from behind the net, getting the puck off Nedeljkovic. The sequence started on a Werenski rush up the ice and he attempted a blue paint pass that went off Kevin Stenlund to the boards. Along with Stenlund, Seth Jones also had an assist.
Only 46 seconds later did Carolina score, Cedric Paquette’s (13) shot beating Korpisalo, possibly bouncing off a Blue Jackets player on the way to the net. Brady Skjei and Steven Lorentz grabbed the assists on the play. This sequence originated on a dump and chase that allowed Carolina to attack on the forecheck and make the play happen.
A neutral zone turnover turned into a 2-1 game real fast. Martin Necas (7) used his speed to give Carolina their first lead on a wraparound behind Korpisalo. Andrei Svechnikov and Jake Bean had assists.
There was more bad news with 1:08 to play in the second period when the Jackets lone goal scorer in Werenski got tangled up in the corner with Brock McGinn. Yet it was Werenski who went down and suffered the worse of it.
Nick Foligno also took an elbow with 23.2 seconds remaining, which put Columbus on a power play due to the elbowing call on Warren Foegele. Foligno was down but looked okay skating to the bench.
The good news is Werenski was back on the bench to begin the third period and Foligno was on the ice for the face-off. Needing the equalizer, they weren’t able to get anything started on the power play. Although Stenlund had a fantastic opportunity as the first power play ended, and drew a second power play as he was hooked by Bean.
Maybe the penalty prevented a goal but it was a great chance to tie things up over the next two minutes.
Korpisalo kept the game a one-goal deficit on a short-handed chance be Necas which seemed to fool everyone looking for the puck.
Atkinson missed the chance earlier but this time was able to make good on the second power play chance of the period for his 12th, ringing the pipe on the way in for his first power play goal of the season.
Seth Jones had his second assist and Patrik Laine also had a point on the play. This game had everything.
Dougie Hamilton I believe was the Hurricane to deflect that one into the net, but frankly this should be a 2-2 game, and it is. Atkinson's first power play goal of the year. #CBJ ties it 3:20 into the third.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) March 26, 2021
Eric Robinson's third golden scoring chance of the night is someone swallowed by Alex Nedeljkovic, but barely. #CBJ fourth line was buzzing there for a while. Robinson was everywhere that shift.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) March 26, 2021
Max Domi gets the third #CBJ breakaway of the night but a 10-bell glove save by Nedeljkovic on his backhand try.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) March 26, 2021
With the score tied at two late, three goals appeared to be the magic number. Carolina is 19-1-1 when scoring at least three goals while Columbus is 10-3-3.
Jones had a puck that ended up on the Blue Jackets bench, setting up a draw in the defensive zone to Korpisalo’s left. There was some chatter between John Tortorella and the officials.
The Hurricanes won the face-off and scored on a tip-in by Nino Nederreiter (14). Dougie Hamilton added his team-leading 23rd assist and Jaccob Slavin also had an assist.
Foegele just missed on an empty-net, which would have ended the game in all likelihood, but Jones also did his best to thwart the chance. All this to keep alive the game-tying goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand (12) with 15.1 left.
Both teams got a point as they went to overtime for the third game of the series, and six out of seven overall for the Blue Jackets.
Sebastian Aho (14) scored the game-winner for Carolina in overtime to win this game 4-3. Korpisalo stopped a first chance by Necas but Aho had an empty net as shown below:
Columbus will face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm EST both days. The Sunday matinee will be televised on NBCSN.
Kevin Stenlund led the Blue Jackets with five shots. Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin also had five shots for the Hurricanes. Seth Jones led the game in ice-time (27:28). Boone Jenner led Blue Jackets forwards (21:17). Brett Pesce led the Hurricanes in ice-time (23:57). Sebastian Aho led the forwards (21:15). Natural Stat Trick.