The Hurricanes Shut Out the Blue Jackets in the Final Home Game of the Regular Season

Svechnikov sets the tone 17 seconds into the game, Aho and Teravainen add goals, and Andersen stops all 23 shots he faced to win 3-0 against Columbus.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

For one last time, the Carolina Hurricanes took the ice in front of the Caniacs in the regular season, closing out their home slate against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canes picked up a huge comeback victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night, aided by a pair of power-play goals and two more from Jake Guentzel. Against a short-handed Columbus team, the Canes looked to get two more points before heading on the road.

Frederik Andersen, who suffered his first loss since returning against the Bruins in his last start, looked to get back in the win column on Sunday. Andrei Svechnikov returned to the lineup after missing the Washington game with an illness, taking Jesperi Kotkaniemi's spot. Malcolm Subban took the start for Columbus, with Elvis Merzlikins and Daniil Tarasov both out with injuries.

If you were a little late to this one, you missed an early goal. Andrei Svechnikov wasted little time getting the Hurricanes going, snapping a shot from the right dot past Malcolm Subban just 17 seconds into the contest. Brady Skjei made a great play in the defensive end to get the puck out to Jordan Martinook, and Jordan Staal's middle-lane drive helped give Svechnikov some room to snap it home in his return.

The early portion of the game was dominated by the Hurricanes, especially the Staal line. After Justin Danforth rang the post on a breakaway, the Canes drew a penalty, giving them their first chance with the man advantage. As if like clockwork, Jake Guentzel and Sebastian Aho connected to extend the lead. Teuvo Teravainen worked the puck over to Guentzel, who set up Aho for a one-timer that Malcolm Subban had no chance on.

The Hurricanes continued to circle in the second period, earning a power play that turned into a 5-on-3 for 47 seconds early in the middle frame. They had some good looks, but Columbus was able to kill it off. Even while unsuccessful, Columbus couldn't build any momentum from it. The Canes' power play would come up empty a few minutes later, but not before Sebastian Aho rang one off the crossbar. Frederik Andersen continued to remain a calm presence in the net, leading the Canes into the intermission with their 2-0 lead intact.

The only area of the Canes' game that hadn't gotten any work was the penalty kill, but that would change early in the third period. They didn't allow Columbus to get a shot on Frederik Andersen, killing the penalty with ease. Columbus did their best to stay in the game, but they weren't generating anything substantial. Teuvo Teravainen provided the dagger, seemingly out of nowhere. His shot from just outside of the left dot surprised everyone, including the goalie, giving the Canes an insurance goal late. The only business left to handle was the shutout for Andersen, and they'd get that, too. The final horn sounded as the Hurricanes earned a 3-0 shutout win to finish their home slate.

Before we talk about what this win means for the team, it's worth pointing out how short-handed the Blue Jackets were, yet how engaged they were. They had some bad puck luck in this game, hitting three posts. So many of their regulars missed the game due to injuries and other matters. Still, Malcolm Subban kept the Blue Jackets in the game despite the early goal. He was making his first start for Columbus and his first NHL start in over a year, helping Columbus in less-than-ideal circumstances.

This win didn't tell us a whole lot about the Hurricanes, but it could serve as a big launching pad for a few guys. The Staal line had an excellent night, beginning with the opening goal from Andrei Svechnikov, who desperately needed a goal. They had another long shift before the first commercial break that nearly led to another goal. Teuvo Teravainen's goal was his first in a month. The fourth line had a good game, too. With the Aho line taking up all of the production lately, it was good to see the rest of the team stepping up.

Heading into their final road trip of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes are in an excellent spot. They're locked into the Top 2 in the Metropolitan Division, sitting three points behind the Rangers for the division lead, though New York owns a game in hand. Even if they can't pass the Rangers, they'll get one of the four teams vying for the third spot in the division. Whoever they face will be a team that has been scratching and clawing to even qualify. That team will also have to deal with a raucous PNC Arena for Game 1. There are far worse spots for the Canes to be in.

The final road trip begins on Tuesday night with a rematch against the Boston Bruins to determine the season series' winner. The Hurricanes will make stops in St. Louis and Chicago for their final two cross-conference games of the season before finishing the regular season in Columbus for Game 82 against the Blue Jackets.