Tracking the Storm: Postgame-- The Carolina Hurricanes opened their six-game preseason slate with a 5-4 loss to their Metropolitan Division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The scoring came in bunches, as Columbus jumped out to a 2-1 lead, Carolina answered with three goals and then the Blue Jackets came back with three of their own to claim victory. “The first game, I was expecting a little more bite to our game,” said Canes head coach Kirk Muller. “I would have liked to have seen a little more intensity from some of our players tonight.”
-- Jay Harrison on the team’s first preseason match: “It was a start. There are still some things to be ironed out, and the best way to do that is through playing games,” he said. “Tomorrow, we’ll come back, revisit it and continue to build.”
-- Alexander Semin potted two goals for the Hurricanes, the first of which was a power-play tally. His second, scored in the second period, was a rocket of a slap shot from the near faceoff dot.
-- Speaking of Semin, he was whistled for delay of game at the 19:27 mark of the second period for having his sweater tucked in. However strange this penalty is, it’s a new point of emphasis for officials this season. “We’re aware of it, and Semin wasn’t doing it on purpose,” Muller said. “It kind of just kept popping up.”
-- Elias Lindholm made his Hurricanes debut, recording 16:04 of ice time, with over two minutes of power play and shorthanded time each. He tallied a shot and a pair of hits and was 8-of-12 (67 percent) in the faceoff dot. “I liked his game tonight,” Muller said. “He’s smart, and he’s good in traffic. He definitely understands the game both with the puck and without.”
-- Ryan Murphy paced the team in ice time with 22:51, including nearly three minutes on the man advantage. Murphy recorded two shots and five blocks and was a plus-1. “I thought he looked calm tonight,” Muller said. “He joined the rush and went up ice at the right times. He didn’t do it recklessly.”
-- Cam Ward started his first game since March 3, as he played the entire 60 minutes and made 26 saves on 31 shots. “I think it was important for him just to get in there and get a game in,” Muller said. “There’s some work to do, but that’s expected.”
-- The Hurricanes will travel to Buffalo on Thursday, which kicks off a three-game road swing. They’ll then take on the Canadiens in Quebec City and Montreal before returning home to close out the weekend. These next three games could be the last chance a number of players have to push for a roster spot with the team. “We’re still looking for certain guys to step up,” Muller said. “You’d always like to win, but I think we’ve got to … give everyone their opportunity to perform.”