RALEIGH, N.C. — Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine left his team’s season opener in the second period with an apparent elbow injury.
Skating towards a puck in the corner, to the right of the Carolina Hurricanes‘ net, Laine’s arm was pinned to the boards on a check from defenseman Brett Pesce.
He stayed on the bench after skating off, while team trainers examined him. The team labeled it an upper-body injury during the 4-1 loss. Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen had no further update in his postgame press conference.
Eleven seconds into the second period, Laine scored the Blue Jackets’ first goal of the season, beating Frederik Andersen with a shot, assisted by defenseman Zach Werenski.
Laine, 24, is entering his second full season with the Blue Jackets after a 2021 trade from the Winnipeg Jets. The 2016 No. 2 overall pick had 26 goals and 56 points for the Blue Jackets last season. He now has 10 goals in 20 career games against Carolina.
A lot is expected from Laine on the team’s top line this season, especially after Columbus signed free-agent forward Johnny Gaudreau to play alongside him this summer.
“We were really moving our feet, our line,” Gaudreau said. “Two, three shifts in a row, we were in their zone, we were making plays, we were getting good opportunities.
“And then he went down, and then you never know who you’re playing with the next shift. So, it was tough.”
“You had the chemistry going there, I thought they were working well together, and then it was a little bit of a blender there,” he said.
The Hurricanes took over after the injury. Martin Necas had a goal and two assists and Seth Jarvis, Brady Skjei and Andrei Svechnikov also scored in the win. Andersen made 31 saves.
“That’s hockey. You’re going to deal with adversity even though it’s the first game of the year,” Columbus forward Justin Danforth said. “Obviously, it’s something you’ve got to learn from and it’s not going to get any easier.”
The Blue Jackets will hold their home opener on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.