RALEIGH, N.C. — After six consecutive games on the road, Noah Hanifin and Scott Darling made sure the Carolina Hurricanes had a happy homecoming.
Hanifin scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, Darling stopped 35 shots and the Hurricanes beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 Saturday night.
Jordan Staal also scored for Carolina, which won its third straight in its first home game after a two-week trip.
"We just had to fight through this stretch," Hanifin said. "You gotta find a way to win, on the road or wherever."
Alexander Wenneberg had the goal for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves.
The Hurricanes never trailed despite being handily outshot 36-24 by the Blue Jackets. Darling was the primary reason, stopping prime scoring chances throughout by Columbus to record his first win in his last six starts.
"It’s huge, it’s been a while since I won a game," Darling said. "When you’re seeing the puck well sometimes it looks like it’s in slow motion. It was a good night like that."
Hanifin gave Carolina the lead with 7:02 remaining in the middle period with a 4-on-4 tally. The young defenceman joined his forwards on a rush up the ice and crashed the net, banging home his own rebound after an initial kick save by Bobrovsky.
"I think in 4-on-4 it’s a good opportunity to create some offence and I love it," Hanifin said. "It’s fun having all the space out there. I saw an opportunity to maybe drive the net and I knew we had guys back , and it was kind of a lucky bounce for me there. You want to go to the net and finish your route to the net, so that’s what I was trying to do."
That was all Darling needed, as he turned aside all 20 Columbus shots over the final two periods to secure the victory.
"I thought we controlled the play, I thought we had our forecheck, but give them some credit," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I thought Darling made some key saves at key times."
Staal had put the Hurricanes up 1-0 at 3:40 of the first with some help from the Blue Jackets. Staal took a puck in the corner and sent a pass through the crease, where Columbus defenceman Jack Johnson accidentally poked it through Bobrovsky’s legs and in.
Wenneberg tied it for Columbus with 7:59 left in the opening period, chipping in a pass from Cam Atkinson through Darling’s legs.
NOTES: The Hurricanes have earned at least a point in 16 of their last 19 meetings with the Blue Jackets. … Hanifin has scored six of the 10 goals by Carolina defencemen this season. … Columbus dropped to 10-2-1 in one-goal games. … F Phil Di Giuseppe and D Haydn Fleury were scratched for the Hurricanes. … The Blue Jackets scratched F Markus Hannikainen and D Gabriel Carlsson.
Blue Jackets: Conclude their two-game road trip at Boston on Monday.
Hurricanes: At Toronto on Tuesday in the first of a two-game road swing.