Bjorkstrand scores in SO, Blue Jackets rally past Carolina
By BOB SUTTON
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 win over Carolina on Saturday night in a game in which the outcome appeared to be tilting in the Hurricanes' favor in the waning minutes.
Bjorkstrand and Seth Jones scored third-period goals for the Blue Jackets, whose only lead in the game came on the last attempt in the shootout. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 35 shots for Columbus, which tied the game in the final minute of regulation.
The situation appeared dire for the Blue Jackets a few times.
"We were at the end of the vine a couple of times, and found a way," coach John Tortorella said.
Carolina's Dougie Hamilton began the shootout with a goal. With Columbus down to its last chance, Patrik Laine converted to extend.
The Hurricanes appeared to win in overtime on a Hamilton power-play tally with 2:46 remaining in the session. But that was wiped out on a review because of offsides.
"I was down the tunnel, almost to the (locker) room," Jones said, figuring the game was over as he exited the penalty box. "Never happy to go in there (to the penalty box), but, yes, I was happy that we got a second crack at the penalty kill."
Tortorella said there were anxious moments even though his staff had confirmed that Carolina had been offsides.
"The refs were leaving the building. They were going out the gate," he said. "Everybody was leaving, including our players. . For a couple of seconds there, I thought we had lost the game."
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour made several mentions to "a weird ending" while praising his team's determination.
Andrei Svechnikov and Warren Foegele scored in regulation for the Hurricanes, who dropped their third straight game following an eight-game winning streak. Goalie James Reimer made 29 saves.
Svechnikov was the offending player on the offsides in overtime.
"I don't think you'll see him do that again," Brind'Amour said.
Jones tied the game with 28.4 seconds left in regulation. He had two goals, including the overtime winner, when the teams met two nights earlier.
"It was a crazy ending," Tortorella said. "You look at the odds."
Foegele scored with 4:13 remaining in the third period to put Carolina back on top. Foegele dove between Merzlikins and Columbus defenseman David Savard and knocked the puck into the net.
Hamilton's assist on the play pushed his points streak to 11 games, marking the longest active string in the NHL.
Svechnikov, who had his first goal in seven games, opened the scoring with his first even-strength goal since Feb. 16.
"There's a lot of good in there," Brind'Amour said. "It was a good game by us. I thought we stuck with it. . I'll take that effort."
The Blue Jackets pulled even 39 seconds into the second period. Bjorkstrand's shot bounced around before going off Hamilton's skate and into the net.
The Blue Jackets have played in five straight games that have gone beyond regulation.
The teams are halfway through a stretch of four meetings in eight nights.
"We don't have that many days off to really dwell on it," Foegele said of the outcome.
Merzlikins made a point-black save of Martin Necas' attempt in overtime. It was reflective of the type of clutch sequences that went Columbus' way in the past two games.
"I think we are fighting really for each other," Merzlikins said. "I am really happy we are getting on the right track."
The Blue Jackets have won consecutive games for just the second time since mid-February.
THIS IS THE YEAR
Reimer's record dipped to 12-4-1 this season. That includes a 2-0-1 mark against the Blue Jackets.
Until this year, Reimer was just 2-8-2 all-time vs. Columbus.
KEEPING UP WITH JONES
Jones has three of his four goals this season during a two-game stretch across three nights in Raleigh.
The defenseman hadn't scored in any of his previous career 27 outings against the Hurricanes.
Jones was called for a high-sticking penalty in overtime that led to Carolina's power play.
"That was a great kill, a great kill," Jones said of the work of his teammates on the penalty kill.
The teams meet twice next week. Columbus heads for its only two home games during an eight-game stretch with matchups with the Hurricanes on Monday and Thursday nights.
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Updated March 20, 2021