Shuffled lines and an onslaught in the last half of the game couldn't salvage a slow start for the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in Carolina, as they fell 4-2 to the Hurricanes.
This isn't just a loss on the ice, but it's a big one in the standings, too, as Columbus now finds itself three points behind the suddenly-hot Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division standings, and two points behind the defending champion Washington Capitals.
At points in tonight's game, Carolina looked far too fast for the Blue Jackets, particularly early in the game. Michael Ferland scored 5:16 into the first period and Dougie Hamilton followed with a goal of his own just 82 seconds later.
Journeyman Greg McKegg, owner of the best name in the league, scored the Canes' third goal in what is his first NHL game of the season, giving Carolina a 3-0 lead. The Blue Jackets came roaring back thanks to goals from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Artemi Panarin just 15 seconds apart late in the second.
In the end, though, it just wasn't enough. Sebastian Aho tapped home an empty-net goal with just two seconds left in the game, and for the second time this season, former Blue Jacket Curtis McElhinney has beaten his old team.
Columbus very nearly tied it in the end, though, but Pierre-Luc Dubois couldn't corral a bouncing puck. Had he been able to get it cleanly, he would have had one heck of a look for a potential game-tying goal.
Scott Harrington left tonight's game with an illness.
Columbus will continue their road trip tomorrow, playing the second half of this back-to-back against the Florida Panthers, then they'll trek across the Sunshine State to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
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