The Blue Jackets' five-game points streak ended with a thundering thud on Monday night at Nationwide Arena. It was ugly.
No goals, fewer than 20 shots on goal. Let's just say it wasn't the ideal way for the Blue Jackets to arrive back home after winning two games last week at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Here are three things from a 3-0 loss at Nationwide Arena.
After winning the first two games of this pivotal series, the Blue Jackets shouldn't have been surprised at what they got from the Hurricanes.
Carolina had lost three straight games, two of those on home ice to Columbus, and wanted desperately to get back on track tonight at Nationwide Arena. They're in no danger of being caught by the Blue Jackets, of course, but they also don't want their game to slip at the wrong time. They were ready to play tonight, and Columbus was not.
"We knew they were going to push...we just didn't have an answer for it," captain Nick Foligno said. "We couldn't find a way to tilt the ice. We didn't have that checking level we needed to have in the second (period). They stay in your face and force you to make some turnovers."
The offense was (obviously) lacking.
The Blue Jackets barely tested Alex Nedelkjovic, who had a fairly pedestrian evening between the pipes. The Hurricanes pressured and they checked, something Columbus had a hard time handling.
"It's a big part of what they do," coach John Tortorella said of Carolina's checking.
Tortorella had no interest, when asked post-game, about the performance of his top players. "I'm not going there," he said. But we'll recap it for you, because that's our job. They created basically nothing 5-on-5 and their power play was a nightmare.
ONE MORE TO GO
Thursday's game is the fourth and final of this series between the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes. It clearly means more to Columbus, scratching and clawing its way back into a playoff position after a sluggish winter and early spring.
They'll need a much better effort, all-around, to get a different result. Carolina was sharper, more energetic, and cleaner with the puck tonight and it gave the Blue Jackets all sorts of problems at both ends of the rink. After a day off Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will be back on the ice Wednesday to prepare for the series finale.
"We have to win. We need to start winning sets of games. That has to be our mindset," Foligno said.