In a game that looked like a sure win, the Carolina Hurricanes blew a late 3-2 lead and lost 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night. To stay in the Holiday spirit, let’s take a look at the tale of “How the Columbus Blue Jackets Stole Two Points”
The Columbus Blue Jackets got the ball rolling at 9:45 of period one to take the 1-0 lead. Cam Atkinson won a race to the puck behind Justin Peters, and he threw it in front of the net where Artem Anisimov was left uncovered. He scored give Columbus the early lead. Cam Atkinson and Brandon Dubinsky got the assists.
The Carolina Hurricanes would strike back at 18:49 of the first period thanks to Jeff Skinner’s power play goal to tie the game at one. After an Eric Staal face off win, Jeff Skinner scooped up the puck and rifled it past Blue Jackets goalie Mike McKenna. Eric Staal got the lone assist.
Former Buffalo Sabres forward Corey Tropp chipped a rebound over Justin Peters to make it 2-1 at 15:39 of the second period. After Mark Letestu’s first shot, Tropp swooped in and put a rebound goal in for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mark Letestu and Boone Jenner got the assists.
The back and forth game continued as Jeff Skinner scored his second of the night at 16:25 of the second period to tie the game at two. Jordan Staal won the face off to Alex Semin who then made a beautiful pass to Jeff Skinner who was all alone in the slot. He took advantage of the opportunity and sent a laser past McKenna. Alex Semin and Jordan Staal got the assists on Skinner’s power play goal.
At 9:06 of the third period, the Carolina Hurricanes took their first lead of the night thanks to Alex Semin. Jordan Staal came in on the two on one. He waited for the right time, and he passed the puck to Alex Semin who finished in the slot. Jordan Staal and Nathan Gerbe picked the helpers on Semin’s fourth of the season.
Things went down hill fast for the Carolina Hurricanes, and it started with Ryan Johansen’s goal at 15:58 to tie the game at three. After a Jiri Tlusty turnover, Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen came in on a two on one. Johansen received a very nice pass from Foligno, and he barried it on Justin Peters. Nick Foligno and Mark Letestu got the assists.
Jack Skille scored the game’s winning goal at 17:26 of the third period to put away the Carolina Hurricanes. Off a bad line change from the Carolina Hurricanes, the Columbus Blue Jackets walked in on a 3 on 2 rush. Skille finished it short side on Peters, and that turned out to be all that the Columbus Blue Jackets would need to seal the deal in Raleigh. Artem Anisimov and James Wisniewski got the assists on Skille’s fourth of the year.
FINAL SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets – 4; Carolina Hurricanes – 3.
This was a game that the Carolina Hurricanes absolutely should have won. They had a a 3-2 lead with under 4:30 minutes left in the game. In an important division game, they can not let that lead slip away. The Carolina Hurricanes played a solid 55 minutes of hockey, but they slowed down in the final five minutes, and that turned out to be the determining factor of this game.
Justin Peters had an off game, but he was left out to dry many times tonight. His performance in Tampa Bay on Saturday was certainly much better, but all goalies have off nights. It was just unfortunate that it came here. Hopefully Peters can just put this one past him and continue his stellar play.
Jeff Skinner continues his extremely high level of play. He scored two power play goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Carolina Hurricanes first line is definitely not slowing down. They continue to be one of the best lines in hockey, and that was certainly a bright spot tonight.
This was an important December game for the Carolina Hurricanes. They had a late 3-2 lead against a division rival that was right behind them in the standings. They could have picked up a big two points against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but instead they stopped playing to the system late in the game.
When the Carolina Hurricanes play in Kirk Muller’s system, they typically win hockey games. They were winning the game when they were playing like they should. They stopped playing that way late in the third period, for whatever reason, and they lost to Columbus. This should be a loss that stings the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Carolina Hurricanes have the next few days to celebrate Christmas and get back at it before they play a tough opponent in the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. It’ll be a great opportunity for the Carolina Hurricanes to really bounce back and show what they have in front of the home crowd.