Lindholm, Ward lift Hurricanes over Blue Jackets

Cam Ward made 35 saves and the Hurricanes got a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets.

Elias Lindholm gave Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward all the help he needed Friday night.

Lindholm scored twice, Ward made 35 saves and the Hurricanes beat the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1.

Lindholm put Carolina ahead 2-1 on a redirect with 5:25 left in the second period, and then added an empty-net goal with 1:01 remaining. Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist and Chris Terry also scored for the Hurricanes, and Kris Versteeg had two assists, giving him 299 NHL points.

“It was a real good game,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “I thought it was physical in the first period and Columbus came out real good. I love those greasy (goals). I love the deflections. I love the fact that we’re getting the puck towards the net, to the net.”

Ward was perfect other than a second-period goal allowed to Brandon Dubinsky during a 5-on-3 penalty kill. He and the Hurricanes killed off a second 5-on-3 of 1:25 later in the period.

``I can't say I've seen two 5-on-3s in one period much in my career,'' Ward said. ``We got an unfortunate bounce on that first one, but we competed. A 5-on-3 is just work, and we were able to maintain our composure.''

Anton Forsberg made 25 saves and Columbus lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Defenceman Seth Jones made his first appearance with Columbus since a trade from Nashville on Wednesday and played in his 100th NHL game.

Columbus' Nick Foligno left early in the third after a hard hit from the Hurricanes' Brad Malone.

This was the opener of a back-to-back, and the two teams will play in Columbus on Saturday night.

``I don't think we challenged them enough,'' Columbus coach John Tortorella said. ``We had some on the power play, we had some at the end of the game, but we certainly didn't develop enough throughout the game.''

Staal put the Hurricanes ahead on a power play at 16:09 of the first, redirecting Jaccob Slavin's pass from the right point for his ninth of the season.

Dubinsky scored his by banking the puck off Carolina defenceman John-Michael Liles' left skate from right of the crease and past Ward. Foligno had the secondary assist.

David Savard hit the right post on a rocket from the right point during the latter 5-on-3.

Lindholm put the Hurricanes ahead by knocking down Noah Hanifin's shot with his stick in the slot to bounce the puck past Forsberg.

Terry buried the rebound from his own shot to make it 3-1 at 9:20 of the third.

Malone and Dubinsky got 5-minute fighting majors 2 seconds later.

``It's always huge to win the first of this kind of back-to-back, especially against a team like Columbus,'' Versteeg said. ``They work extremely hard, and you've got to be ready to compete against each player every night. We had a good one-on-one battle level, and tomorrow it will be no different.''

NOTES: After the rematch, the Hurricanes host Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. ... Hurricanes LW Phil DiGiuseppe (concussion) missed his third straight game while C Victor Rask (upper body) was also an injury scratch and. D Michal Jordan a healthy scratch. ... Columbus D Kevin Connauton, D Justin Falk and D Dalton Prout were healthy scratches. ... Following Saturday the teams' other meetings this season will be on March 24 at Columbus and April 2 in Raleigh.