Carolina Hurricane captain Eric Staal scored twice in the third period and his brother Jordan added the game winner moments later to cap a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Tonight’s game was the third of five meetings between the Metropolitan division rivals. Columbus took the first two of the season and were winners of seven in a row against the Hurricanes. For Carolina to leap-frog Columbus in the standings they would need to play a full 60 minute game against a physical Blue Jacket team. Columbus jumped on top early. After a point shot rattled off the pipes and Anton Khubodin was unable to control it, Columbus center Derek MacKenzie buried his fifth of the year. 17 seconds later, another rebound in front of Khubodin allowed RJ Umberger to net his 14th goal of the season. Each team managed seven shots a piece in the opening period and Columbus took the two goal lead into the first intermission.
The second period saw a Carolina team that wouldn’t give up and a battle of goalies. The Hurricanes defense held Columbus to nine shots, but not many were true scoring opportunities. Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin came up big on the ones that were and allowed the Hurricanes to stay within striking distance. Carolina’s offense managed 17 shots on last years Vezina Trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jacket net minder turned them all away.
Carolina seems to score in bunches at the PNC Arena after they manage to find the net for their first one. Half-way through the third period the dam broke. Alexander Semin left the puck in the left wing circle for a trailing Eric Staal and the captain slipped it five-hole on Bobrovsky. Exactly one minute later captain Staal struck again off a centering pass from behind the Columbus net by Jiri Tlusty. The game winner came when Jordan Staal stole the puck in the neutral zone and was able to walk-in on Blue Jacket defenseman Ryan Murray and slip a back-hand by the leg of Bobrovsky.
The Hurricane victory moved the team into third in the Metropolitan division standings, two points behind the Rangers for second and tied with Detroit in the Wild Card standings. In their five games left before the Olympic break, four of them are at home. The only one that is away is Tuesday night in Montreal. The back-to-back game will mark the 13th of 20 sets of games for Carolina this season. Only the New Jersey Devils (22) will play more back-to-back games this season. The Hurricanes are 7-4-1 in the front halves and 4-5-3 in the back halves thus far.