The Columbus Blue Jackets have found a scoring star early in the season.
Sonny Milano scored twice Tuesday, the second on a breakaway with 31 seconds left in overtime, to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Jeff Skinner gave the Canes new life late, scoring his first goal of the season with 1:25 left in regulation after goalie Scott Darling was pulled for an extra attacker. It was the first goal allowed by Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and it tied the score 1-1.
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In overtime, the Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin was called for hooking Jordan Staal by Bobrovsky, the 2017 Vezina Trophy winner, was rock solid in net. Milano then scored after the Canes’ Sebastian Aho missed the net on a 3-on-1 rush.
The Hurricanes (1-0-1) and Blue Jackets (2-1-0) played the first 50 minutes of the game waiting for one of the goalies to blink. Darling finally did and the Blue Jackets took advantage.
Milano’s first goal, with 9:59 left in the third period broke a scoreless tie. Milano score his third of the season with a shortside shot from below the goal line, the puck glancing off Darling’s left pad at the post.
In Saturday’s opener against Minnesota, the Canes rallied in the third period, their best of the game, and then won a shootout. They also did it before a loud sellout crowd that clearly enjoyed the 5-4 victory.
It wasn’t the same Tuesday. The crowd was much slimmer on a week night — announced at 7,892 — and the noise level lower in the Canes’ first Metropolitan Division game of the season.
The game was more of a grind — scoreless after 20 minutes, scoreless after 40. Darling and Bobrovsky both faced 20 shots in the first two periods in what became an increasingly physical game.
Bobrovsky, who shut out the New York Islanders 5-0 in the Columbus opener, stopped a Teuvo Teravainen shot on an odd-man rush by the Canes early in the game, then again in the final minutes of regulation. There were a few wicked tips to stop and Darling once lunged to smother the puck after first bobbling it.
The Blue Jackets caught a break in the second period when the referees missed the Blue Jackets’ Matt Calvert flipping the puck over the glass in the first moments of a Canes power play. Carolina would have had 1:57 of a 5-on-3 advantage but delay of game was not called and the Blue Jackets made the kill.
The Canes said Tuesday that defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk suffered a concussion in Saturday’s opener and would be out indefinitely. They then had another scare against Columbus when defenseman Brett Pesce was banged into the boards by Nick Foligno in the first period.
Pesce, hit from behind, was taken off the ice for treatment and Foligno penalized for boarding for what could have been a dangerous hit.
Pesce, paired Tuesday with Jaccob Slavin, quickly returned to the game.
Klas Dahlbeck replaced van Riemsdyk in the lineup and teamed with Hadyn Fleury to give the Canes some physical play. Dahlbeck rocked Foligno behind the Canes net in the second, putting his shoulder into the Blue Jackets’ captain.
After two at home, the Canes play their next four games on the road — the annual N.C. State Fair trip — before returning to PNC Arena on Oct. 24 to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.