Blue Jackets’ home opener spoiled by McElhinney, Hurricanes
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sebastian Aho and Micheal Ferland each had a goal and an assist and Curtis McElhinney — picked up off waivers three days ago — had 31 saves in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Jordan Martinook also scored to help give Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour his first NHL win and ruin the home opener for the Blue Jackets.
The 35-year-old McElhinney was signed Tuesday as a backup after starting goalie Scott Darling was injured last weekend. A former Columbus backup, McElhinney got the start Friday after Petr Mrazek played the first leg of a back-to-back the previous night.
Brandon Dubinsky scored and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for the Blue Jackets.
Martinook got it started 1:43 into the game when he rifled a shot over Bobrovsky’s glove from the slot off a nice feed from 18-year-old Andrei Svechnikov, the No. 2 pick in the June draft who picked up his first NHL point with the assist.
Dubinsky tied it later in the first when he tipped in a rebound off McElhinney’s skate.
Aho chipped a shot up over Bobrovsky from the doorstep to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead 6 1/2 minutes into the second period. Later in the second, McElhinney made a critical save, swallowing up a point-blank shot from Josh Anderson on a breakaway.
Just after the Blue Jackets came up empty on their third power play of the night, Ferland found the back of the net with a one-timer from the slot 4 1/2 minutes into the third period. McElhinney shut down Columbus the rest of the way.
NOTES: A quick whistle kept the Blue Jackets from tying the game in the second period. A referee whistled the play dead after a McElhinney stop, but the puck immediately popped out and Dubinsky put back the rebound. … The Blue Jackets are now 7-8-3 in home openers. … The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes are two of the youngest clubs in the NHL. The average age for both teams is 25. … Svechnikov got his first point after hitting the post twice in Carolina’s opening night overtime loss to the New York Islanders. … McElhinney appeared in 85 games for the Blue Jackets from 2013-17, posting a 26-33-8 record.
Carolina: Hosts the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Columbus: Hosts Colorado on Tuesday night.