COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Carolina Hurricanes won their third game in a row, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.
Zach Boychuk, Riley Nash, Justin Faulk, and Eric Staal all contributed to the Hurricanes’ offensive effort which outshot Columbus 37-19 while goaltender Cam Ward made 17 saves to post his third straight win of the season.
“It feels good to win,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“You put a little bit of a streak together, it doesn’t matter what time of the year, it feels good and gives the guys energy. I think our room is full of life right now.”
Boychuk and Nash scored just under two minutes apart and put Carolina ahead 2-0 late in the opening period during which they outshot Columbus 18-9.
A late-period goal from Nick Foligno at 18:59 brought the Blue Jackets closer, but still kept the Hurricanes ahead, leading 2-1.
Though finishing 0-for-6 on the power play, the Hurricanes’ consistent pressure and overall play in winning 63-percent of faceoffs taken, blocking 14 shots, taking the puck away nine times, and forcing 13 Blue Jackets giveaways throughout the game created the scoring opportunities needed to win.
That included Faulk’s end-to-end rush to score the eventual game-winner at 6:54 in the second period, a short-handed effort that put the Hurricanes further ahead, 3-1 at the time.
After picking the puck away from Columbus’ Jack Johnson in the Carolina zone, Faulk turned the jets on and outdistanced Alexander Wennberg to beat goaltender Curtis McElhinny with a backhander that rolled over the keeper and into the net.
“That’s a momentum swing for sure and it ends up bein’ the game-winner when you look at it,” Peters said of Faulk’s goal.
“Huge play. They’re thinkin’ of gettin’ one and tyin’ it up, and next thing you know, you’re down two. It’s a lot easier to play in this league with a lead, and a two-goal lead especially.”
Even while Foligno scored his second of the game at 14:37 of the third to narrow the score to 3-2, Staal eventually added his second goal of the season with 12 seconds to play, an empty-netter that sealed the win for the Hurricanes.
Carolina’s first road triumph comes on the heels of back-to-back home wins against Arizona (3-0) and the defending Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings (3-2) on Saturday and Sunday after starting the season 0-6-2.
The team returns to Raleigh to prepare to face Columbus again at home on Friday, the second of four contests the two teams will face each other in throughout the season.
“Not goin’ to change a whole bunch,” Peters said of what to expect on the quick rematch.
“I’d be shocked if it did. We know what to expect. They’ll probably get a few more guys back to make them deeper and better. It will be a little tougher in our building. It’s always tougher to beat somebody two in a row, so we’ll take a day off and have a good practice on Thursday and be ready for Friday-Saturday.”