The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t get a circus shot from Alexander Semin, a hat trick from Elias Lindholm or score seven goals Tuesday.
What they did do was allow more power-play goals – three – than they have in a game all season on their way to a shootout loss at PNC Arena.
The Columbus Blue Jackets topped the Canes 4-3 as Ryan Johansen scored the only shootout goal. Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky denied Lindholm, Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner in the shootout to decide the game between the two worst teams in the Metropolitan Division.
Defenseman Justin Faulk had a goal and two assists – all in the first period – for the Hurricanes (25-32-8). Rask scored his ninth goal of the season and Eric Staal his 19th, both on power plays, as the Canes led 3-1 after the first.
But Scott Hartnell had a pair of power-play scores and Rene Bourque the other as the Blue Jackets (28-34-4) rallied.
“They got better and they built a game on the road and competed harder and took advantage of their power plays,” Canes coach Bill Peters said.
Eric Staal had a chance to win it late in overtime on a breakaway but couldn’t get the shot on net as he tried to pick a corner.
In the shootout, the Columbus’ Mark Letestu and Lindholm both were high on attempts. Canes goalie Cam Ward then stopped Artem Anisimov and Bobrovsky stopped Rask.
Johansen, up third for Columbus, skated in on Ward and then came to a near stop, finally getting off a shot that appeared to be in slow motion. When Bobrovsky knocked away Skinner’s try, the Blue Jackets claimed the extra point and sent the crowd of 10,418 fans home.
The Hurricanes were coming off a 7-4 rout of the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, a game in which Semin scored on a spectacular shot from his stomach and Lindholm had a career-best five points.
The Canes scored 36 seconds into Tuesday’s game, on a blast by Faulk.
Rask nailed a shot from the right faceoff dot at 12 minutes, 47 seconds, and Staal then got a piece of Ryan Murphy’s shot with 9.6 seconds left in the first as the Canes moved the puck well and converted on power plays.
“We thought it was going to be easy and continue to get two or three a period without putting the work in,” Peters said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
The Canes, ranked No. 1 in the NHL in penalty killing, have stuggled in their past two games. They gave up two-power plays goals to the Oilers. As Peters put it, “What was once a strength is now a weakness.”
The Hurricanes traded away three capable penalty killers in Andrej Sekera, Tim Gleason and Jiri Tlusty. But Hartnell’s first goal came with Jay McClement, Pat Dwyer, Ron Hainsey and Faulk on the ice. It didn’t help that Ward couldn’t squeeze in Kevin Connauton’s shot.
Hartnell, always lurking around the net, tied it at 3 in the third, lifting a loose puck past Ward for his 18th of the season.
“Tough special teams battle tonight,” said Faulk, whose cross-checking penalty in the third led to the tying goal. “We got on the wrong side of it and it cost us the game.”
The Blue Jackets, credited with 51 hits, also became more physical during the game as defenseman Jack Johnson rattled Lindholm with a big hit along the boards.
Nine penalties were called in the game by referees Paul Devorski and Evgeny Romasko, the Russian-born referee who was working his second NHL game.
“We were playing well and things were going well, but we knew they were going to push back,” Faulk said.
The Blue Jackets pushed, came back and won.