RALEIGH, N.C. — Blue Jackets left wing Sonny Milano is definitely off on the right skate this season.
The 2014 first-round draft pick scored two goals Tuesday night, including the game-winner on a breakaway with 31 seconds left in overtime to give Columbus a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Forget about offense,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “We knew that was coming. But (Milano) has really been consistent away from the puck, too. He had some coverages tonight in our zone that were really good, and he did a really good job on the wall protecting pucks and getting pucks out. That’s the most important part for this coach. And then he has free reign offensively.”
Milano scored midway through the third period before Jeff Skinner tied it late in regulation with Carolina’s net empty. Sergei Bobrovsky, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goalie, made 37 saves for Columbus.
“That was fun,” Bobrovsky said. “I don’t like to talk about goals — it is what it is. But we got two points and that’s the most important thing for us. In those kinds of games you build up confidence in the locker room and confidence in each other.”
Scott Darling, obtained in an offseason trade with Chicago, stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes.
Milano scored on a ricochet off Darling’s backside at 10:01 of the third, becoming the first Columbus player to score in his first three games of a season. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nick Foligno assisted on the goal.
“I just went for a spot goalies usually leave open and got it over the pad,” Milano said. “It’s good to have three goals in three games, especially being a rookie.”
Skinner tied it with an unassisted goal at 18:35 after the Hurricanes had pulled Darling.
But with the clock ticking down in overtime, the 21-year-old Milano scored his second game-winner.
“I knew all three guys were caught on my breakaway,” he said.
Carolina (1-0-1) has not won the first two games of a season since 2010.
“I thought there were times when we dictated and times where they dictated,” coach Bill Peters said. “It was kind of back-and-forth. But I thought it was pretty even throughout. … It’s a resilient group and it’s a work in progress.”
Columbus outshot the Hurricanes 11-10 in the first period, with each team killing off one minor penalty. The second period went similarly, as each team killed off a penalty and the Hurricanes outshot the Blue Jackets 10-9.
NOTES: It was the 400th NHL game for Hurricanes center Marcus Kruger. … Carolina’s next four games are all on the road before a return home on Oct. 24 against Tampa Bay. … Carolina D Trevor Van Riemsdyk (concussion) sat out, while C Martin Necas and RW Josh Jooris were healthy scratches. … Ex-Carolina center Zac Dalpe, and D Scott Harrington, were healthy scratches for the Blue Jackets. … Columbus hosts Carolina in their next matchup Nov. 10.
Blue Jackets: Return home Friday night to play the New York Rangers.
Hurricanes: At the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night for the first of three straight games in Canada.
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