Carolina Hurricanes

Lindholm gives Canes 4th-straight win, 3-2 over Blue Jackets in OT

The Canes Elias Lindholm, center, celebrates his winning goal with Alexander Semin (28) and Brett Bellemore (73) during the overtime period against  the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
The Canes Elias Lindholm, center, celebrates his winning goal with Alexander Semin (28) and Brett Bellemore (73) during the overtime period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena in Raleigh. cseward@newsobserver.com

Elias Lindholm nearly won it with seconds left in regulation.

In overtime, he was the finisher.

Lindholm’s power-play goal with 37.8 seconds remaining in the extra period Friday lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena, pushing the Canes’ winning streak to four games.

Lindholm took a stick in the face in the first period, leaving a gash on the bridge of his nose. But the Swedish winger returned with stitches in his nose and added edge to his game, ripping the winner past Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney.

“I just closed my eyes and shot it,” Lindholm said, smiling. “Luckily it went in.”

The Canes (4-6-2) beat the Jackets, who have lost seven straight, for the second time in four days with a third-period rally and then by finally converting a power play. Columbus’ David Savard was called for holding with one minute, 50 seconds left in overtime, resulting in a four-on-three power play for the Canes.

Victor Rask’s even-strength score with a little more than eight minutes left in regulation tied the score 2-2. Jeff Skinner had the Canes’ first score, flipping a backhander by McElhinney early in the game.

In the final 10 seconds of regulation, Rask cleanly won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Lindholm blasted a quick shot that McElhinney was barely able to squeeze and keep out of the net.

Goalie Cam Ward had 29 stops in earning his fourth straight win, but Canes coach Bill Peters said Anton Khudobin would be the starter Saturday in Carolina’s road game against Washington.

Although pleased with the victory, Peters wasn’t happy with his team’s focus.

“Give them credit, I thought (Columbus) played a pretty good road game, but I didn’t like our emotional involvement in the game,” Peters said. “I didn’t think we were as engaged in the game as we have been, (and) I didn’t think we were very physical. But we cranked it up in the third and found a way.”

The Canes had four shots on goal in the first period. Scott Hartnell scored twice for the Blue Jackets (4-8-1), who were forcing turnovers, beating the Canes to pucks and hustling on the penalty kill.

Carolina, which was 0-for-6 on the power play in a 4-2 win Tuesday at Columbus, failed to convert its six power-play chances in regulation.

The Jackets, decimated by injuries, played without defenseman Jack Johnson, who was suspended three games by the NHL for his hit to the head on the Canes’ Jiri Tlusty in Tuesday’s game. Tlusty, who underwent testing for a possible concussion, was cleared to play.

Lindholm had one assist in the first eight games and was pressing but now has four goals and two assists in the four victories.

“The Swedish beast has been on,” Canes captain Eric Staal said.

Rask, another Swede whom Peters said may have been the Canes’ best forward Friday, scored when he circled with the puck near the right face-off dot, then ripped a bullet past McElhinney. It helped that Nathan Gerbe was screening McElhinney.

“We talked a lot about how we had to go out in the third and shoot the puck, and I thought we did a good job,” Rask said.

Late in overtime, Rask lost the puck to the Jackets’ Matt Calvert but skated back and knocked the puck away from Calvert to Staal in the neutral zone. Staal found Lindholm open on the right wing and with Skinner on his left, Lindholm skated in and unloaded from low in the right circle.

“We took it to them pretty good in Columbus, so we knew they’d come back hungry and they were,” Staal said. “I like the resiliency we showed. We stayed with it and battled.”

  Comments