The Carolina Hurricanes had an overtime game-winner overturned by replay and then lost in the shootout to Columbus, coming out on the losing end for the third straight game and second in a row against the Blue Jackets in a 3-2 loss Saturday at PNC Arena.
Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele scored for Carolina, and James Reimer made 29 saves in the loss.
1. There was an extra attacker goal that shouldn’t have happened, a game-winning goal taken off the board, and the Hurricanes’ first shootout loss in more than 27 months. Just add them all to the pile of the weird things that have happened in Columbus-Carolina games this season.
Carolina allowed a goal to Columbus defenseman Seth Jones with 29 seconds remaining to force overtime. But the goal probably should have never happened after Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic pushed Patrik Laine’s felled stick back to his opposite winger — an illegal play that should have been a penalty. Laine went on to have the primary assist on Jones’ goal.
Then the Hurricanes looked like they won the game in overtime, but a league-initiated replay correctly ruled Svechnikov offside earlier in the play when Carolina entered the zone. (More on this further down)
It might not be true irony, but it’s at least worthy of an Alanis Morissette remix.
“You’re preaching to the choir,” Brind’Amour said of his team being sent to OT on a play that can’t be reviewed yet getting denied in overtime because of replay. “I mean, it is what it is. … I don’t even get the (stick) rule anyway. Why can’t the guy push the stick to them? What’s the difference? But that’s a rule.
“But you’re not catching that live. … Our sport’s too hard to really referee live. You need a quick second look,” Brind’Amour added, hinting again at his long-held belief that the NHL should move one referee from the ice to a booth with replay. “It’ll come. It’ll be 20 years, (and) I’ll be long gone.”
2. For as much heartbreak as the Hurricanes had in Saturday’s loss, there was a silver lining. Any game against Columbus is going to look crowded and lack space, but Carolina found a way to carry play in all three periods and be the better team most of the night.
“I thought we all played hard,” Foegele said. “We competed, and we know what the series against them is going to be. It’s going to be tight and not much is given. You’re gonna have to be gritty and just keep working hard and try to eliminate some of their chances.
“But I thought we played hard tonight — just unfortunate the way the results were.”
“There’s nothing not to like it other than the result,” he said.
3. The Hurricanes continue to get dominant defensive efforts from the pairing of Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei. The duo both played more than 20 minutes at even strength while also helping Carolina stop both Columbus power play opportunities (Pesce was in the box for one of them).
Pesce has rightfully received praise this year for his play, but Skjei — after some up-and-down moments — has settled in as a perfect complement to No. 22. Skjei’s offensive numbers are mostly nonexistent since he joined Carolina (four assists in 37 regular season games), but he’s proven reliable both at even strength and also on the penalty kill.
He’s also in the right role as a second-pairing shutdown defender. He’s averaging 20:58 thus far this season, and that’s perfectly in line with what he’s done in the past three seasons — 20:41 in a season split between the Hurricanes and Rangers last year, and 21:14 and 21:02 the previous two years in New York.
And since joining the Hurricanes, Skjei’s possession numbers have spiked from the mid-40s to the low 50s, usually against very tough competition with a lot of defensive zone starts. On Saturday, he was at 65.22% Corsi For and was on the ice for 30 of Carolina’s 57 5-on-5 shot attempts.
The points will come for Skeji, but Brind’Amour has to be happy he has two pairings that are capable of dominating each night.
Number To Know
11 — Consecutive games with a point for Dougie Hamilton, who assisted on Foegele’s third-period goal, tying him with former Whalers blueliner and Hall of Famer Mark Howe for the longest streak by a defenseman in franchise history. Hamilton is also now tied for fourth among all Hurricanes players since the franchise relocated to North Carolina. Sebastian Aho’s 14-game streak last season is the record.
They Said It
“It’s a weird, weird ending. We probably deserved better, but let’s move on.”
— Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour
Warren Foegele, Hurricanes forward — Two nights after he was caught deep in the Columbus zone in his first overtime ice time of the season, leading to the Blue Jackets’ game-winning odd-man rush, Foegele put his hard-charging mentality to good use Saturday.
With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, Foegele crashed the net after a Hamilton shot and collected Brock McGinn’s dribbling rebound attempt after fighting off Columbus’ David Savard for the go-ahead goal.
It’s the sixth goal of the season for Foegele, who surprisingly ranks third on the team in 5-on-5 expected goals and high-danger scoring chances behind Nino Niederreiter and Svechnikov. He’s also played significantly fewer minutes than them this season — 320:19 in 27 games, compared to the 400-plus for Niederreiter, Svechnikov and Aho.
Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes forward — Carolina’s young star winger got back in the goal column Saturday, but it was the goal that was taken away that will be remembered.
With the Hurricanes on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, Dougie Hamilton rifled a shot past Elvis Merzlikins (35 saves) to seemingly give Carolina the win. But a look at the tape almost 20 seconds before the goal showed Svechnikov was offside on the zone entry — and not on a bang-bang play, but with Svechnikov clearly offside with both feet inside and standing perpendicular to the blue line.
“I just got too excited. I should have been a little bit patient,” Svechnikov said, “but it happens, that’s hockey. So I feel bad.”
With a chance to win it in the shootout, Svechnikov came up empty.