Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)
RALEIGH, NC – It was a great start to the Carolina Hurricanes 25th anniversary season.
Martin Necas led the way with a goal and two assists while goaltender Frederik Andersen made 31 stops and secured a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena on Wednesday.
Single goals from Brady Skjei, Seth Jarvis and Andrei Svechnikov additionally fueled the Hurricanes offense that put 43 shots on Columbus netminder Daniil Tarasov.
Both teams had their chances during the opening period of play and kept Andersen and Tarasov busy – each stopping 10 shots apiece.
But it only took 11 seconds into the second for Patrik Laine to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
Jarvis answered back and scored Carolina’s first goal of the season and evened the score five minutes later.
Picking up speed
Skjei’s point shot, set up with a saucer pass over a defender’s stick from Necas, found its way past Tarasov at the 18:30 mark and gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
While both teams had two power play opportunities, neither capitalized on them.
“It wasn’t a great start, for sure,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“Columbus had better play early. Kind of expected that to be quite honest. We hadn’t played in a long time. Some guys hadn’t played in a really long time, so we definitely were a little behind in the pace of the game. Freddie played really well and made some really big saves at key times.”
Necas’ first goal of the season came about as a result of hard work on his part – pressing for the puck on the forecheck which eventually found him in the slot to slide inside the post to Tarasov’s right.
Leading 3-1 and overwhelming Columbus in its own end, Svechnikov’s wrist shot from the left side boards finalized the game’s scoring with 10:42 remaining.
Outshooting the Blue Jackets by a 20-8 margin in the period, Carolina secured the win in front of its first sold-out crowd of the year.
“At the end of the day, you want to get the win; that’s the first thing,” Brind’Amour concluded.
“Then you want to see if we’re playing the way we want to. That was encouraging to see towards the end.”
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