Yegor Chinakhov scores twice as Blue Jackets blank Hurricanes

Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals and this time the Columbus Blue Jackets finished strong for a 6-0 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Elvis Merzlikins made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season.

Emil Bemstrom, Patrik Laine, Cole Sillinger and Jack Roslovic also scored for the Blue Jackets. Eric Robinson and Jake Bean picked up two assists apiece, and Roslovic added a helper.

Beginning with a 7-4 loss to Carolina on Jan. 1 when a 4-0 lead disappeared, the Blue Jackets had dropped four of their past five games.

Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 32 shots before he was pulled in the third period after Laine and Chinakhov scored in a 37-second span.

Jack LaFontaine, in his first professional game, took over for Andersen and saved just one of the three shots he faced. The Hurricanes signed LaFontaine to an entry-level contract Sunday, so he left the University of Minnesota team midseason.

Carolina, which hadn’t previously been blanked this season, played just its fifth game in nearly a four-week stretch.

The Hurricanes were back to work after another unexpected gap in their schedule. They hadn’t played since a Saturday night overtime loss to the Florida Panthers, with a scheduled Tuesday game at Philadelphia postponed because of COVID issues with the Flyers after the Carolina team traveled to Philadelphia a day earlier.

Bemstrom netted his first goal of the season, and the only goal of the first period, at 8:43 when he shoved a rebound past Andersen, who made two saves in the sequence. Bean assisted on the goal in his first game in Raleigh since playing for the Hurricanes in 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Columbus produced an 18-10 edge in shots in the opening period.

Chinakhov’s first goal came on a breakaway at 11:56 of the second period.

LaFontaine entered the game after the score was 4-0 in the third, and he gave up Sillinger’s breakaway goal on the first shot he faced. The tally at 5:33 gave Columbus three goals in 1:07.

Roslovic capped the scoring at 14:26.

The Hurricanes played for the first time this season without defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who is in COVID protocol.

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