Once again the Carolina Hurricanes faced a mountain to climb in the third period, this time a 2-0 deficit to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Once again, they came through in the clutch, rallying for a 3-2 win and, for the moment, a playoff spot.

For a stretch of 138:41, dating back to his days in Philadelphia, Sergei Bobrovsky had owned Carolina, turning away every puck he faced. But the next 167 seconds belonged to the Staal brothers. Eric scored twice and Jordan recorded the game-winner, erasing a very sloppy first 51 minutes.

“It was a good comeback,” said Eric Staal. “I thought we got stronger and stronger, and eventually broke through in the third. Sometimes in this building, you feel it coming.”

In the first two periods, everything that could go wrong, did. Numerous turnovers, poor pinches, lost board battles, and two early goals — 17 seconds apart, just 2:25 in — led to a very subdued atmosphere. The lethargy on the ice was reflected in the stands.

Frustration set in, especially for Jordan Staal, who skated in his 100th game as a Hurricane.

“For a few guys, it was getting frustrating, including myself,” he said. “Eric was the one who kept it positive. He came out with some big goals to get our momentum going. Like I said, it was a fun comeback.”

The final 10 minutes featured a complete reversal of roles. The Canes started doing the little things, finally leading to results. Eric tied the game thanks to Jiri Tlusty outworking Jackets’ defenseman Fedor Tyutin in the corner and finding the captain alone out front. Similarly, on the tying goal, Elias Lindholm worked the puck along the near boards before feeding a streaking Jordan, who capped the comeback.

“Yeah, ‘Skinny’ made a great play up the wall to ‘Lindy’, and ‘Lindy’ just held the guy there. I just went for it from there.”

Columbus lost in regulation for only the second time when leading after two periods, and Carolina notched their fourth win when trailing after two.

The comebacks have been an impressive trend for the ‘Canes, whose 10-3 record since New Year’s Eve speaks for itself. On that night they dug themselves out of a three-goal hole in the third against the Montreal Canadiens — reminiscent of the Molson Miracle — with Alex Semin winning the game in overtime. In Buffalo they rallied from three separate one-goal deficits, taking the win on the second half of a back-to-back.

But how many times can they continue to go to the well?

As great of a feeling as eking out a win can be, it first requires a concession of goals, and sometimes they can come in bunches. One of the few blemishes over the Hurricanes recent hot streak came at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where four goals were surrendered in the first 20:24. That night, the gap was too large, and three goals were all Carolina could muster, despite putting up 51 shots. Thirteen other games ended in similar fashion.

And sometimes, they’re the victim. The season series against Columbus opened with the Jackets scoring twice in an 88-second span of the third period, turning a 3-2 loss into a 4-3 win, and leaving the Canes shell-shocked.

“They rope-a-doped us, so we got them back,” Eric said. “It’s a good feeling to have that result when you put that work in, that right effort. That always helps build trust in each other, and the ability to stay in games when it doesn’t look like you are.”

Between the comebacks and the three game postponements, overcoming adversity has been the name of the game. And now the Canes sit third in the Metropolitan division, still with games in hand on nearly everyone in the Eastern Conference. At the Bell Centre in Montreal on Tuesday they’ll attempt tie a season-high five wins in a row, ironically against the team that jump-started their current hot. Full circle.

“This is the challenge to our guys. This is for us to get to the next level,” Kirk Muller said. “This is like playoff-style hockey. You’ve got to grind through it when you’re tired, whether it’s mental or physical, and find a way to get the job done.”

About The Author

Andrew Luistro graduated from Appalachian State University. An avid sports fan, he began beat writing for the Sunbelt Hockey Journal, part of The Hockey Writers Network, with a focus on the Carolina Hurricanes. Andrew also actively follows the Boston Red Sox and Carolina Panthers, among other teams. Follow him on Twitter @ndrewL7

106 Responses

  1. Ih8theriders

    ndrewL7 it’s the poor starts I keep dreading. How many games have we been scored on in the first five minutes? Too many!

  2. ndrewL7

    RDailey28 I meant to tell them during yesterday’s morning skate, but I had to leave early. I take full responsibility.

  3. RDailey28

    ndrewL7 It’s okay. At least I didn’t need to say even once stay out of the box!

  4. dabrams2021

    RDailey28 ndrewL7 How about: when a game starts at 7:08 p.m., that means you shoudn’t wait until 7:25 p.m. to show up.

  5. ndrewL7

    dabrams2021 They did. Aside from a few chances early in the 2nd, it was a poor night for them.

  6. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 RDailey28 ndrewL7 They were not great (like Sat), but a lot was how Muller used them and how the game went.

  7. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 Komisarek is starting to pick up his skating; he & Harrison are a Blunderbuss rifle in terms of passes; more random than planned

  8. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 but Komisarek is steadily improving; he’s got more control of passes than Harrison; who hammers every pass full bore it seems

  9. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 RDailey28 ndrewL7 1/2 Muller used line on Dzone FO/more significantly on “over boards” shifts after dumps w/Clu possession.

  10. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 RDailey28 ndrewL7 2/2 #Canes (across all lines) hemmed in all night. 3rd line got more than fair share of starting that way.

  11. dabrams2021

    CarolinaMatt63 RDailey28 ndrewL7 Komisarek & Harrison had 4 long, difficult shifts in 3rd period (all their TOI); average shifts 1 minute

  12. dabrams2021

    CarolinaMatt63 RDailey28 ndrewL7 Liles had 8 shifts in 3rd of .48 average. JML is heart attack dmen;often on edge of disaster but escapes

  13. dabrams2021

    CarolinaMatt63 RDailey28 ndrewL7 I guess I’m going to have to embrace the near sheer panic as JML tries diagonal cross-ice passes, etc.

  14. ndrewL7

    CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 Manny’s line always gets lot of D-zone starts which explains his lower corsi. Vs. CBJ worse than normal, others

  15. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Manny has been a great addition; I believe he’s a gifted 4th line center; doing his best on 3rd; Bowman outmatched

  16. ndrewL7

    dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 RDailey28 On the PP those are great. On the 2nd, he could have found a wide open Semin, but shot instead

  17. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 2. against the Beasts of the Blue Jackets; too much for him physically in that role;

  18. ndrewL7

    dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 I like Dwyer there and Bowman on 4. IMO, Dvorak is very hit or miss lately. Provides offense, struggles on D

  19. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 I prefer Bowman or Ruutu; I prefer Dwyer/Manny as 4th line duo; strongly prefer it

  20. ndrewL7

    dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 Given current personnel, 22 HAS to be 3C. 20 is just overslotted. And like I’ve said, not sure on a trade soon.

  21. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 I agree that at moment Manny is the best choice for 3C. Skinner/Jordan Staal/Lindholm are a beastly 2nd line

  22. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Agree. I was chirping about 2 biggest upgrades being D (ideally top 4) and C3 from 1st season eval in November.

  23. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 I think 3C trade is coming. JR needed a push to get fully off the fence on whether he is buying or selling.

  24. dabrams2021

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Nash is over his head when placed as 3C; not strong enough yet to sustain the battle required as a 3C.

  25. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Best guess is that he will get best he can get without spending a ton and will do so right before or after break.

  26. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 I think JStaal/Lindholm could hold. Skinner will go back to 2B scoring line if/when #Canes add skating/playmaking C.

  27. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 I think it is more that he just is not a great fit for what #Canes need there.

  28. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 If #Canes were a 2-line deep juggernaut and power play, Nash could be fine as a checking line 3C.

  29. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 Nash has grown and is having solid year, but #Canes are light on 2nd-line scoring/need O to pair with Skinner on 3rd.

  30. dabrams2021

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 I strongly disagree. Nash one day will be a very good 4C; he’s behind the ideal development curve at moment

  31. dabrams2021

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 Canes do best w big bodied centers like the Staals

  32. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 I like Nash as depth F going forward but also realize he could be part of trade package to push for playoffs now.

  33. ndrewL7

    CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 Nash has absolutely grown, and I agree that he could make a solid 15G RW, maybe on 3rd even. Not sure on C tho

  34. CarolinaMatt63

    dabrams2021 ndrewL7 Nash is much more “not exactly what team needs” than “not playing well.”

  35. RDailey28

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 {sighs} Would have, could have, should have.

  36. RDailey28

    dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 He is what he is. He’s also pretty lucky!

  37. ndrewL7

    CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 Not that strength is be all end all, but just looked at Lindholm’s combine. Impressive. Ton of room to add, too

  38. ndrewL7

    RDailey28 dabrams2021 CarolinaMatt63 agreed. A lot of his +10 is right place, right time. AKA luck. Still better than I expected.

  39. mach2que

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 I’m going to root vigorously against Slovakia. I’m really concerned about our top pair post Oly #tired

  40. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 He is just struggling with learning how to take hits whereas on European surface/league it is about avoiding them.

  41. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 NHL rink is too small/players too fast. Even if you play with head up and are quick, there is till just more contact.

  42. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 dabrams2021 That is different for him and where he struggles most but he’s 18 and in his 1st year in NHL.

  43. ndrewL7

    CarolinaMatt63 That too. I expect a very good 2nd year. All growing pains right now. CBJ TV guys (Shelley) at morning skate very impressed.

  44. CarolinaMatt63

    RDailey28 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Ideal for #Canes would be Liles slotting in 3rd pair maybe w/Komi and team had puck-moving RD for Hainsey.

  45. CarolinaMatt63

    RDailey28 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 But that is unlikely to happen until summer at earliest.

  46. CarolinaMatt63

    RDailey28 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 JR did best he could. True top 4 D w/offensive ability are impossible to get via trade.

  47. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 I think he is improving regarding taking hits. Still has room to grow,but has made several plays while taking a hit

  48. mach2que

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 May be waiting on Cam so that he can package Peters. #Canes

  49. ndrewL7

    mach2que CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 Doubt Peters has any trade value anymore. Probably will hit waivers or continue w/ the 3 goalie thing

  50. CarolinaMatt63

    Raynalia ndrewL7 1/2 I think big part is mental change. It is NOT (often) avoiding contact. I think that’s where he started.

  51. CarolinaMatt63

    Raynalia ndrewL7 2/2 It is about understanding angles, where you are, etc. and absorbing non-direct hits.

  52. CarolinaMatt63

    Raynalia ndrewL7 He plays with his head up and sees the ice, so I think it will come fairly quickly.

  53. CarolinaMatt63

    ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 Agreed. Surely JR will shop him, but I think he sees waivers if no offers once Ward returns.

  54. Raynalia

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 Definitely. Question regarding his Combine, was it very good? I didn’t catch his results.

  55. mach2que

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 True, but all it takes is the right team to get injuries. Pkg’d to a team like CGY could give them 1/2

  56. mach2que

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 2/2 a low cost goalie to try in net. 35 needs to play a lot, not suited for backup work.

  57. mach2que

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the org to keep him as a #3

  58. ndrewL7

    Raynalia Scored top 10 in both Push and Pull strength, but IIRC opted out of a lot of the barbell work due to injury.

  59. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Oh that’s very good. I wonder what his lower body strength is like? Not too worried about it in all honestly, mostly curious.

  60. ndrewL7

    Raynalia I was looking for full results because I was curious too, but had trouble finding anything outside of the top 10 for any tests.

  61. JayDeadbolt

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 Justin is an UFA, so even if he gets picked up or traded, he can come right back over summer

  62. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Yeah, same here; I wish they’d just post the full results somewhere. Its harder to find stuff further back than a few years too.

  63. ndrewL7

    JayDeadbolt CarolinaMatt63 mach2que dabrams2021 Surely he wants/deserves an NHL shot, tho. Think time in org is ending one way/anoither.

  64. mach2que

    JayDeadbolt CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Not sure if I would want that or would prefer to move on to another prospect.

  65. ndrewL7

    Raynalia Body size can be deceptive, but he looks so skinny w/ and w/o pads. Fact that he actually has hidden strength is very encouraging.

  66. JayDeadbolt

    ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 mach2que dabrams2021 Maybe. I wouldn’t be certain till Khudobin signs an extension. If he doesn’t we need Peters.

  67. JayDeadbolt

    mach2que CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Or, yes, someone else entirely, but that’s been a crap shoot for half a decade now.

  68. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Absolutely, some people just don’t bulk up. I actually think he looks younger/smaller w/pads on. Unless he’s next to Skins/Faulker.

  69. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Who are pretty much monsters lol. Tree-trunks for legs, as seen in the Shane-Willis features.

  70. mach2que

    JayDeadbolt CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Hey I’m a #woofwoof fan, but not interested in another 1-way for a 3rd string goalie.

  71. CarolinaMatt63

    JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 1/2 I don’t think Peters is #2 for #Canes.

  72. CarolinaMatt63

    JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 2/2 Ward’s shakiness of late + injury problems force JR to try to find another Khudobin.

  73. CarolinaMatt63

    JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 Sadly I think most likely destinations for Khudobin could be in division to #Isles or #Caps.

  74. mach2que

    CarolinaMatt63 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 dabrams2021 Real prob w/35 is that he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently b/u. Better as starter

  75. ndrewL7

    Raynalia They’ve definitely put some size on over the last few years. I remember how small Skinner used to look. Now he’s winning battles.

  76. JayDeadbolt

    CarolinaMatt63 ndrewL7 mach2que dabrams2021 I would almost rather pay for Ward and Khudobin now and explore summer trade market.

  77. ndrewL7

    mach2que CarolinaMatt63 JayDeadbolt dabrams2021 All comes down to what $ Khudobin wants. If it’s absurd, have to move on.

  78. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Yeah. Though Skinner was a bit deceptive too I think. Age helps but he’s always been committed to fitness. Helped him his rookie yr

  79. mach2que

    CarolinaMatt63 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 dabrams2021 If he doesn’t improve this year I still think U have 2 think move 30 & find a 31 partner

  80. Raynalia

    ndrewL7 Though I think between his…rookie and sophmore year he put on a lot more muscle. I think? Its either that or b/w 2nd and 3rd yr.

  81. JayDeadbolt

    ndrewL7 mach2que CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 I really get the feel Khudobin is a one year rental for Canes. He will get a #1 deal.

  82. mach2que

    JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 dabrams2021 Either way, we still will need to look for a #2 Can’t keep 31 & 30, resources better used

  83. ndrewL7

    JayDeadbolt mach2que A two-year bridge deal taking them to Ward’s UFA status for moderate $ would be ideal for all parties involved, IMO

  84. JayDeadbolt

    ndrewL7 mach2que I could live with that. I just don’t think Khudobin would buy the goaltender in waiting pitch.

  85. mach2que

    ndrewL7 JayDeadbolt Ideally, but may be tough if he continues to play this way Somebody will throw some cash his way. I’d prefer 2 for $6M

  86. mach2que

    ndrewL7 JayDeadbolt If we could get say Eberle for 30 & pair Dobby w/another up&coming goalie type for under $6M I’d be content.

  87. dabrams2021

    JayDeadbolt Maybe so; I think Canes will re-sign Khudobin for real money; will not let him walk; based on seeing Rutherford work

  88. dabrams2021

    mach2que JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 having Ward & Khudobin long term is tough but possible w new higher CAP; new era

  89. dabrams2021

    mach2que JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Ward is a dangerous gamble based on past 4 seasons; maybe it’s just bad luck w injuries

  90. dabrams2021

    mach2que JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 JRPimphand is patient, conservative & loyal; if Khudobin maintains his win %, he stays

  91. mach2que

    dabrams2021 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Thr other problem is if Dobby plays like we want & we have a P/O run he’s gonna get $3M+

  92. dabrams2021

    mach2que JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 & if Canes make playoffs, Rutherford will pay Dobby $3+ & trade Ward if necessary;

  93. mach2que

    dabrams2021 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Deal! What’s for dinner?

  94. dabrams2021

    mach2que JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 Only a GM named Mike Milbury would fail to sign an 11-3 win ratio goalie taking team to P/0s

  95. mach2que

    dabrams2021 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 You’re hitting below the belt. Mentioning Señor Clownpants might bring out the JRpimphand

  96. mach2que

    dabrams2021 JayDeadbolt ndrewL7 CarolinaMatt63 The only thing worse than NBCSN being the Original6Network is ‘ol Double M! #o2Waster