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Blue Jackets rock slightly new look; can't beat Ohio native Nedeljkovic, Canes

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Columbus played well but not well enough for the win.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets took their show south to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. As Columbus tries to make it tough on opponents for their remaining regular season schedule, the Hurricanes are in play for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Putting the fan hat down for a second, it’s really cool to see Ohio Native — and recently engaged — Alex Nedeljkovic (13-4, 1.94, .932 entering play) playing so well for Carolina. In 13 of his last 17 starts, Nedeljkovic had allowed two goals or fewer. His GAA is tied for the league lead.

Tonight was his fifth appearance against Columbus on the season.

I also really liked the Jackets look tonight.

Max Domi found the scoreboard in the early going for the Jackets, getting his eighth goal. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Eric Robinson assisted on the play.

There was as great defensive play by birthday boy Jaccob Slavin keeping the score at 1-0. Slavin played goaltender early in life before moving to defense.

Carolina tied the score shortly before intermission so we had a 1-1 game after one. Teuvo Teräväinen scored his fourth, Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho earned assists.

Carolina has a +28 goal differential in the second period this season (62-34). In the second period, the Blue Jackets held a 7-3 shots advantage more than halfway through and 10-5 edge for the frame. Svechnikov collided with Merzlikins after losing his edge on a shot inside the final minute of the second period. Both were fine.

The only penalty in the game through two periods belonged to Domi with three seconds left in the first. Carolina was 0-for-1 on the man-advantage.

Merzlikins made a key save early on in the third following a doorstop shot by Svechnikov following a pass thread through the needle by Teräväinen.

Columbus earned their first power play of the game, and had a 5-on-3 tacked on due to delay of game but could not convert. They finished 0-for-2 on the power play for the night. Brett Pesce had a big block on a slap shot by Domi and was grimacing on the bench, but played his shift first. He would return.

This 1-1 game was settled in extra session. Columbus nearly let one get away after Jack Roslovic collided with Cam Atkinson. With 52.1 seconds left Dougie Hamilton scored his ninth on the year on a breakaway for the 2-1 overtime win. Nedeljkovic earned the assist, banking the puck up ice off the boards and for Hamilton to seal the deal. Carolina takes the season series versus Columbus 5-3.

Nedeljkovic made 31 saves on 32 shots and Merzlikins was 31 on 33.

The Blue Jackets are back at Nationwide arena to face the Predators Monaday night at Nationwide Arena.

Additional Notes

This was the Blue Jackets final road game of the season (7-17-4). They will face the Nashville Predators for two and Detroit Red Wings for a set at Nationwide Arena to close things out. Cam Atkinson, Max Domi, and Mikko Lehtonen each co-led the Blue Jackets with three shots. Seth Jones led the game on the ice (27:30) while Jack Roslovic led Blue Jackets forwards (20:03). Jaccob Slavin led the Hurricanes (24:25) and Sebastian Aho led forwards (22:13). Patrik Laine missed the game due to illness. Emil Bemström (two shots, 15:33) played for the first time since March 14 after coming back from a lower-body injury. Natural Stat Trick.