The Carolina Hurricanes had a Super Bowl Sunday shootout in Columbus, coming out on top with a 6-5 win over the Blue Jackets. Carolina got goals from six different players, led by captain Jordan Staal with a goal and two assists.
1. Don’t expect the rematch on Monday to look like Sunday’s game. Both teams pride themselves on defending well and counter-attacking, but the 11-goal game was unexpected and a bit surprising.
“I think it was just one of those weird ones that turned out that way, but I definitely don’t think (coach Rod Brind’Amour) and the coaching staff wants us to open it up as much as it was,” said Hurricanes winger Ryan Dzingel, who finished with two assists against one of his former teams.
2. The Hurricanes didn’t get their first goal from a defenseman Sunday — they got two. Brett Pesce tied the game at 16:35 of the second period for the first goal from the Carolina blue line this season.
Then midway through the third period, Dougie Hamilton provided an insurance goal with a fluttering, pinball shot from the blue line that found a way into the net.
“They just haven’t really gone in,” Pesce said. “It’s nice to have a few goals now, but it was bound to happen. Maybe now we’ll get on a roll and we’ll get some more offense from the back end.”
3. The game won’t be going into the Officiating Hall of Fame.
It started in the first period when Columbus’ Max Domi took exception to a shoulder from Carolina’s Nino Niederreiter. Domi — the son of former enforcer Tie Domi — grabbed Niederreiter as the Hurricanes winger tried to proceed to the bench. Domi dropped his gloves and started punching, but Niederreiter never dropped his gloves and didn’t really engage in the scrap.
It didn’t matter — both players were given five minutes for fighting — Niederreiter’s first fighting major of his 10-season NHL career.
“I didn’t understand why that was a fight when one guy’s fighting, the other guy’s trying to hang on.” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I got told that he should have dropped his gloves, so that’s it.”
But that wasn’t even the real head-scratcher.
Vincent Trocheck scored for Carolina at 18:45 of the second period to give the Hurricanes their first lead at 4-3. Columbus challenged the goal, saying Trocheck had been offside entering the zone. The call on the ice was confirmed, so the goal counted and the Blue Jackets were given a delay of game penalty. The Hurricanes went on the power play and the period ended with Carolina expecting 45 more seconds of power play time to start the third period.
By the time intermission was over, the 45 seconds was gone and one of the strangest rulings in recent memory was made.
Here’s the explanation from the NHL:
“Columbus requested a coach’s challenge for off-side prior to a goal at 18:45 of the second period. During the review, a miscommunication occurred between the Video Replay Booth in Columbus, the Linesmen and the Situation Room and play resumed before all replays could be reviewed to confirm the off-side. The challenge by Columbus should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed. Subsequently, Columbus was assessed a delay of game penalty. After confirmation in the intermission that the play was off-side, the remaining 0:45 of the delay of game penalty issued was rescinded to begin the third period.”
Trocheck’s goal, however, was not taken off the board.
“I’m going to let the league explain it. … I’m out,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said after the game.
The Hurricanes weren’t as upset but equally perplexed.
“It’s definitely a first for me,” Staal said. “It’s a fast game. It’s a game of mistakes and that stuff happens. … It was fortunate it was on our side, and we’ll take the bounce.”
Dzingel had probably the best explanation.
“It’s 2021, anything’s possible these days,” he said. “We’re not even shocked anymore. … Not much you can say there. I don’t get paid enough to make those decisions.”
Number To Know
9 — Points for Staal in the six games since he returned from the NHL’s COVID protocol. Staal has points in all but one of those games and has multiple points in three of them, including three in Sunday’s win. He is averaging 1.29 points per game through seven games — good for 17th in the league among players with at least five games played.
They Said It
“He’s got that weapon, it’s like Ovechkin and Stamkos. There’s a few players in the league that wherever they shoot it from is a threat, and we have to do a better job on taking that away.”
— Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour on new Columbus winger Patrik Laine, who scored twice but had his blast in the final seconds blocked by Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin.
Jordan Martinook, Hurricanes forward — It’s been a quiet start to the season for the high-energy forward, but Sunday he was a big factor despite playing just 9:09. Martinook had a couple of scoring chances of his own and then made the play that led to Pesce’s goal.
After getting in on the forecheck, Martinook lunged to poke the puck back to Pesce at the point. Pesce’s shot hit a Columbus stick and redirected past Joonas Korpisalo (20 saves) to tie the game.
Martinook seemed reinvigorated by moving back to the wing where he can get in on the forecheck without the added defensive responsibilities that come with playing center.
James Reimer, Hurricanes goalie — Reimer made some key saves late, but allowing five goals — including three at 5-on-5 — on just 22 shots isn’t going to cut it. The Hurricanes will likely go to Alex Nedeljkovic in Monday’s rematch, but they will need Reimer to be a reliable No. 1 until Petr Mrazek is recovered from thumb surgery.