Hurricanes blank Blue Jackets, Andersen earns 3rd shutout

Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen snares a shot by Blue Jackets forward Cole Sillinger during Carolina’s 3-0 win Sunday in Raleigh. (Karl B DeBlaker / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — The Hurricanes scored on the opening shift and never relinquished the lead, cruising to a 3-0 win over the visiting Blue Jackets on Sunday at PNC Arena. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, and Frederik Andersen made 23 saves to earn the shutout.

Three observations

1. Sunday’s game went as expected. Columbus looked like an overmatched team playing out the final weeks of the season, and Carolina dominated early and often.

It took only 17 seconds to take the lead for good, with Svechnikov scoring on the game’s opening shift, and the Hurricanes ended up outshooting the Blue Jackets 35-23 on the night.

“Just to have an impact in the game like he did was good. … You want him to be what he did tonight, have a difference in the game in a positive manner,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Svechnikov. “He certainly did.”

Carolina’s other two goals came from its longtime Finns. Aho scored his 35th of the year and 11th on the power play, and Teravainen had a goal and an assist to snap out of a drought that saw him register just one assist in the last nine games.

“Yeah, I score once in a while,” Teravainen said with a smirk after getting his 22nd of the year, one shy of his career high.

The Hurricanes will need more than their top line producing to win in the postseason, and getting Svechnikov and Teravainen going would go a long way toward that.

2. Andersen didn’t have to do much against the pop-gun Blue Jackets, but let’s not overlook just how good he’s been since rejoining the team. Andersen is 8-1-0 and has allowed just 11 goals in those nine games. Other than the loss to Boston on Thursday, when he allowed three goals on 27 shots, he hasn’t given up more than two in his other eight starts. The shutout was his third since returning.

“It feels good to be able to contribute with the team,” Andersen said. “I think the team’s been playing really well and consistent. That’s something that helps me. I’m just trying to do my part and help the team.”

3. Three Hurricanes prospects — the recently signed Scott Morrow and Bradly Nadeau, along with North Dakota forward Jackson Blake — were at PNC Arena on Sunday to see Carolina get its 49th win of the season.

It remains to be seen if any of them — Blake would have to sign a contract to practice or play — have a role to play in the remaining regular season games or beyond, but having them around the team, particularly a winning one, has value.

“We know we’re gonna need the next wave,” Brind’Amour said. “And to get them here and to be around it and get comfortable with it, it’s just a head start. Whether they play this year or have any impact this year, down the road all this matters. It’s just good to see that we’re getting some real high-end talent still coming, and that’s important.”

Number to know

Plus 29 — Aho’s plus/minus this season, fifth best among NHL forwards. Only Edmonton’s Zach Hyman (plus 35) and Connor McDavid (plus 34), Toronto’s Auston Matthews (plus 33) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (plus 33) are better. A Hurricanes player has only been plus 30 or better six times: Jaccob Slavin (twice; 2019-20 and 2021-22), Brett Pesce (2018-19), Teravainen (2018-19), Dougie Hamilton (2019-20) and Tony DeAngelo (2019-20).


Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes forward — To say Svechnikov has been in a funk would be an understatement. He had not scored in 10 games, was without a point in his last five, and his penchant for taking bad penalties was certainly irking Brind’Amour.

He missed the Washington game Friday with an illness — one wonders if perhaps there was more to it than that — but sitting out probably also served as a wake-up call to the struggling winger. He scored on the game’s opening shift, cruising up the right wing and zipping a shot past Columbus goalie Malcolm Subban (32 saves), and looked more like the dominant player who can take over a game.

“It’s been a few bad penalties, all that stuff,” Svechnikov said of his recent struggles. “You try to forget it and then move on. It was a good game today. I’ve just got to keep going and move that game to the playoffs.”


The Blue Jackets’ next GM — There is work to be done in Columbus (again), and there don’t seem to be any easy fixes. No big contracts are coming off the books to free agency this offseason, and deals like those held by Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine seem impossible to move. The next GM will have to make decisions on new contracts for Kirill Marchenko and Cole Sillinger, decide what to do with Alexandre Texier, and convince bright spot Dmitri Voronkov to stick around. Goaltending is a whole other issue. Good luck.

They said it

“I thought Roddy would never put us together because we would just pass to each other, but it’s pretty fun.”

— Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen on playing with Evgeny Kuznetsov