Blue Jackets bounce back with shootout win over Hurricanes
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When games come down to extra time, the Columbus Blue Jackets have an uncanny ability to find a way to win.
The Blue Jackets improved their record to 8-0-1 in games extending beyond regulation with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.
Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin scored as the first two shooters and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped both shots he faced as the Blue Jackets won on the second night of a back-to-back.
Korpisalo, playing in his first game for the Blue Jackets since early November, finished with 29 saves. Sergei Bobrovsky, the No. 1 goaltender, had the night off after eight straight starts.
Blue Jackets center Alexander Wennberg had a simple explanation for the team’s success in overtime and shootouts.
“Great goaltending. That’s the key right there,” he said.
The Blue Jackets (16-8-1) rebounded from a loss in Montreal on Monday that ended their six-game winning streak.
Josh Anderson scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the first period, and Zach Werenski had the lone goal in the second period that gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead.
Werenski, Wennberg, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Sonny Milano each had an assist for the Blue Jackets.
Noah Hanifin and Brock McGinn scored Carolina’s goals. Scott Darling finished with 36 saves, and Brett Pesce, Josh Jooris, Derek Ryan and Jeff Skinner each contributed an assist.
“It was tough, especially in the first two periods,” Hanifin said. “I don’t think we were playing our game. I thought we had a better third period, but unfortunately we couldn’t put one home to get the win.”
Korpisalo won for just the second time in five games during the first two months of the season. To stay sharp, he started a game for the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League team on Saturday.
And when McGinn scored the tying goal at 10:09 of the third period with a high blast, Korpisalo didn’t flinch during the remainder of regulation and overtime.
Asked what he was thinking going into the shootout, he said, “I thought it was going to be fun. I love shootouts.”
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said, “I’m thrilled for Korpi. I’m just so happy for him. ... (Giving up a goal) doesn’t bother him. It never has. He just lets it slide off him and gets ready to play.
“He made a couple of key saves there in the third period. He did the job in the shootout too.”
The Hurricanes (10-8-5) had won four of their past six games and were coming off a shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
“We were fortunate to get a goal and tie it up,” Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. “That’s a big point for us, but we’re going to have to play better consistently if we’re going to win some games.”
After giving up two first-period goals in a 3-1 loss on Monday night in Montreal, the Blue Jackets got off to a better start against the Hurricanes.
Columbus pounced on Carolina quickly to take a 1-0 lead when Anderson scored just 1:10 after the opening faceoff. Dubois skated in with Ryan draped over him and guided a one-handed pass to Anderson in front of the crease for a tap-in.
The Hurricanes came back to tie it at 7:41 of the first on Hanifin’s fourth goal of the season. On a two-on-on rush, Hanifin passed to center Derek Ryan, received a return pass and sent a snap shot past Korpisalo on the blocker side.
Anderson left the ice and was taken into the locker room at 11:13 of the opening period after tangling with Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin and sliding hard into the end boards behind the Carolina goal. The Blue Jackets right winger returned several minutes later.
At 3:46 of the second period, Werenski ripped a shot from the right circle past Darling’s glove for the go-ahead goal after taking a cross-ice pass from Wennberg.
Then after the Hurricanes tied it in the third, the Blue Jackets performed their extra-time magic.
“When it comes down to getting the extra point, they’re huge,” Wennberg said after the Blue Jackets’ fifth straight win at home. “Every game makes a difference.”
NOTES: John Tortorella became the third coach to win 100 games for the Blue Jackets. ... Blue Jackets C Alexander Wennberg returned after a six-game absence with an upper-body injury. ... The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets met for the third time this season. The final game of the season between the teams is Dec. 16 at Carolina. ... The Blue Jackets play back-to-back games twice this week. ... D Gabriel Carlsson was added to the Blue Jackets’ roster as an emergency recall and F Markus Hannikainen was assigned to Cleveland of the American Hockey League. ... The Hurricanes are 11-4-3 against the Blue Jackets in the past 18 games.