Williams: Canes loss a “dud”
Rod Brind’Amour is considered a players coach and the Carolina Hurricanes coach had a lot to say to his players Saturday -- none of it nice.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets leading the Canes 4-1 in the second period, Brind’Amour used his timeout. An expressive type, he was an animated as he has been all season on the bench, waving his arms as he loudly got his points across.
“I don’t really remember what I was saying because I was pretty much losing my mind,” Brind’Amour said.
It didn’t have an effect. The Blue Jackets went on to win 4-1, using a hat trick and four-point game from winger Cam Atkinson and efficient night in net from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to easily handle the Canes at PNC Arena.
“It was a dud,” Canes captain Justin Williams said. “Call it what it was. It was a dud and certainly unacceptable.”
The Canes (8-8-3) did make one spirited push. Atkinson’s first two goals had given the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead in the second period and Sebastian Aho had an answer for the Canes.
After winning a faceoff in the Columbus zone, Aho carried the puck around the net past Riley Nash and beat Bobrovsky low to the far post with a wraparound. Canes fans finally had something to be excited about and the Canes followed with some energized play, finishing checks, fighting for pucks.
The push, and the momentum shift, lasted 77 seconds.
Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski, joining a rush, rifled a shot past Canes goalie Scott Darling from the slot. Make it 3-1, Columbus.
Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin, who had an assist on the Blue Jackets’ first three goals, made a spinning pass from the neutral zone to Atkinson, who dropped off the puck for Werenski to fire.
There would be no pushback from the Hurricanes. Instead, rookie Andrei Svechnikov was called for high-sticking and Atkinson struck again on the power play to make it 4-1 with his 12th of the season.
Brind’Amour had seen enough, ordering up the timeout at 11:20 of the second. Not that he changed goalies. Not with another game Sunday at 5 p.m. against the New Jersey Devils. Goalie Curtis McElhinney kept his seat.
But Brind’Amour blistered some ears at the bench.
“Nothing needed to be said but Roddy said it perfectly,” Williams said. “We were just a second off here or there, and because we were a second off we lost every single battle that was important. ... They played like they wanted it more.”
And that was Brind’Amour’s tough-love message.
“They won all the puck battles,” Brind’Amour said of the Blue Jackets, who lead the Metropolitan Division. “They played like a first-place team and we didn’t have the desperation we needed and that’s what was frustrating. I think that was the first one of the 19 games we’ve played when that happened, for me.”
A rare delay-of-game penalty against the Blue Jackets, who claimed a player had a skate issue and had to return to the bench after Columbus had iced the puck, gave the Canes a power play. After that ended, they soon had another when the Blue Jackets had too many men on the ice.
But the Canes, who had scored five power-play goals in the past four games, couldn’t convert. They soon had a better chance shorthanded, but Bobrovsky’s best save came on a Jordan Martinook breakaway.
The Canes had not played since the 3-2 overtime win Monday over the Chicago Blackhawks at PNC Arena. The Canes were anything but sharp Saturday but Aho didn’t blame it on the schedule break, saying that would be an excuse.
“That was a really bad game for us,” Aho said. “We have to be way better.”