Carolina Survives a Fight in Columbus, Closes Their Road Trip with a 4-2 Victory

The Hurricanes finish the three-game journey with five of a possible six points behind strong performances from Aho. Teravainen, Skjei, and Pesce.

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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The Carolina Hurricanes made the final stop of this most recent trip, battling division foe Columbus for the second time this season. The Blue Jackets played the Canes incredibly tight when they visited Raleigh in November, but Carolina managed to erase a two-goal deficit in the third period to win 3-2. After a shootout loss in Buffalo and a win on Tuesday in Minnesota, the Canes were looking to complete the trip with two more points.

Spencer Martin earned the start for the Hurricanes, facing the team that placed him on waivers before the All-Star Break. He was in the net for the shootout loss in Buffalo on Sunday but was phenomenal despite the result. The rest of the lineup remained the same for Carolina. After losing in New York the night before, Columbus deployed backup Daniil Tarasov to battle the Canes.

The first period felt like a track meet, with the two sides skating up and down the ice with no results. Stoppages were at a premium for the first 13 minutes. Both teams had chances to score. Martin Necas had a few good looks, Michael Bunting had a puck jump over his stick with an open net, and there was one moment when Daniil Tarasov had to dive back into the crease to stop a chance after he turned it over.

In their defensive end, the Canes did a great job of denying Columbus when they got a scoring chance. Sebastian Aho denied Boone Jenner. Jalen Chatfield denied Yegor Chinakhov. Jaccob Slavin denied a pass to the slot with two Jackets wide open. The period ended scoreless, but there easily could've been some pucks in the back of the net.

Carolina wasted little time breaking the ice in the second period, scoring in the first minute. Damon Severson tried to knock down a puck with his glove. Unfortunately for him, he threw it right to Teuvo Teravainen. Though he didn't get much on the shot, Teravainen got just enough to slide it under Daniil Tarasov to put the Canes out front. Everyone thought the Canes had another one just over a minute later when Martin Necas snapped one from the left dot, but a successful offside challenge by Columbus took it off the board.

While Martin Necas' goal didn't count, the Hurricanes would still get the next one. Carrying over their puck luck from Minnesota, Sebastian Aho's pass from the boards hit Andrew Peeke's skate and found the back of the net. There's no doubt in my mind that Aho was looking to pass it down low, but it went into the net, so I'm sure he won't complain. Columbus' response was very quick. After an ill-advised pass by Jack Drury, the Blue Jackets escaped the zone on a 3-on-1. Cole Sillinger stepped up and snapped one past Spencer Martin 1:37 later to get on the board.

Late in the period, the Hurricanes were asked to kill a penalty after Brady Skjei was sent to the box for holding. Columbus had a few good chances. None was better than Jack Roslovic in the slot, but Spencer Martin made a great attacking save to shut it down. After being released from the box, Jesperi Kotkaniemi found Skjei as he busted into the zone. With Ivan Provorov draped all over him, Skjei poked the puck through Daniil Tarasov's pads with one hand to take a two-goal lead before the end of the period.

The Hurricanes came out of the intermission on fire. The Aho line had several chances, with Sebastian Aho hitting the crossbar. Despite all of their efforts, Columbus would get the next goal. On the power play, Alex Nylander's shot hit Jaccob Slavin's stick and knuckled past Spencer Martin to shrink the Canes' lead. With plenty of time left in the period, things got very tense. Columbus opted to pull Daniil Tarasov with 3:37 left after the Canes iced the puck. For the next three minutes, the Blue Jackets swarmed. The Canes bent but didn't break. Seth Jarvis eventually ended it with an empty-netter to seal the deal in a 4-2 win.

It wasn't the prettiest game, but it all counts the same. That would be a good tagline for the trip as a whole. None of their games were particularly smooth, yet they still finished 2-0-1. The Aho line was excellent. Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov combined for two goals on ten shots and plenty of other opportunities. It was also a great night for the defensive pair of Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce. They combined to finish +7, with each recording multi-point games.

I have to imagine Spencer Martin feels a little good about winning this one. Carolina and Columbus are in very different places, with the Blue Jackets preparing for a very bright future. In five starts with the Hurricanes, Martin has more wins than he did with Columbus this season. He has been one of the best stories for the Hurricanes since being claimed off waivers. He wasn't asked to be phenomenal against his former squad, though he did come up with some timely stops to help secure the victory.

Following a successful trip, the Hurricanes will return home for an early afternoon game against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. It'll be the first game of March for the Canes, who finished February 8-3-1. They'll have a four-day break after the Winnipeg game, though when they return on February 7 against Montreal, they'll be kicking off a stretch of seven games in 11 days.

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