The Columbus Blue Jackets return home Tuesday night when they welcome the Carolina Hurricanes into Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets hope to avenge a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes suffered just last Tuesday. The Hurricanes hope to continue their recent dominance over the Blue Jackets.
Last time out, the Blue Jackets lost 4-3 to the Florida Panthers. Turnovers and bad goals were the story of the game, as the Panthers scored twice in the second period and never looked back. Scott Hartnell, Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner scored goals for the Blue Jackets, while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 of 32 playing for an ill Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Blue Jackets will not hold a morning skate, as has been their custom the day after a practice. Coach John Tortorella will address the media at around 4:30 P.M. Markus Nutivaara is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Scott Harrington will draw into the lineup for Nutivaara. Bobrovsky should return to the net after missing three games with an illness.
The Hurricanes last played on Saturday. They hammered the New York Islanders 7-4 at PNC Arena. Brock McGinn had four points and was among seven different Hurricanes’ goal scorers. McGinn was named third star of the week by the NHL for his efforts.
The Hurricanes play the Blue Jackets twice this week at Nationwide Arena in a little quirk in the schedule, with a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins sandwiched in-between. The Hurricanes called up goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and sent Michael Leighton back to Charlotte. Nedeljkovic will serve as Cam Ward’s backup in the interim. The Hurricanes are rolling. I wouldn’t expect changes to their lineup. Ward should start.
Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets
Nationwide Arena – 7:00 p.m. EST
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go and Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio Broadcast Channels: 97.1 The Fan and ESPN 99.9 The Fan
Carolina Hurricanes: 21-15-7, 49 points
Road Record: 6-11-6
Hot Players: Brock McGinn, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, Cam Ward
Key Injuries: Eddie Lack (Concussion), Bryan Bickell (Multiple Sclerosis)
Brock McGinn-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner-Derek Ryan-Victor Rask
Teuvo Teravainen-Sebastian Aho-Lee Stempniak
Viktor Stalberg-Jay McClement-Joakim Nordstrom
Brent Pesce-Jaccob Slavin
Justin Faulk-Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin-Matt Tennyson
Cam Ward (Projected Starter)
Columbus Blue Jackets: 29-9-4, 62 points
Home Record: 16-4-1
Hot Players: Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Seth Jones
Key Injuries: David Clarkson (back, on LTIR), Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed, day-to-day)
Brandon Saad-Alexander Wennberg-Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell-Lukas Sedlak-Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski-Seth Jones
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Ryan Murray-Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky (Projected Starter)
1) The Blue Jackets enter Tuesday as one of the best home teams in the NHL. They are 16-2-1 in their last 19 games at Nationwide Arena. This has helped them to their best points start in franchise history. Their 62 points in 41 games is a franchise best by 18 points over the 2007-08 team who got 44 points in 41 games.
2) The Blue Jackets have alternated wins and losses since their 16-game winning streak ended. They’ve allowed at least four goals in each of those three losses. Despite that, the Blue Jackets are third in the league in both goals for (3.31) and goals against (2.24).
3) The Hurricanes come into Tuesday as one of the league’s hottest teams. They’ve won four straight and are 5-1 in their last six overall. The Hurricanes have been even better against Columbus, earning at least a point in 11 of their last 12 meetings, going 9-1-2 in that stretch.
4) Two Hurricanes players come into Tuesday as career point per game players against the Blue Jackets. Hanifin has five assists in five career games while Rask has four goals and five assists in seven career games against the Blue Jackets. Skinner and Staal also enjoy success against the Blue Jackets, with Skinner scoring seven goals and 12 points in 16 career games, while Staal has six goals and 13 points in 18 career games.
The Blue Jackets need to get back to their basics to win this game. They must keep the Hurricanes to the outside, while getting strong goaltending from Bobrovsky. Turnovers and bad goals have hurt the Blue Jackets in recent games. Expect the Blue Jackets to come out strong trying to avenge their loss to the Hurricanes last week. Expect a heavy forecheck.
The Hurricanes need to weather (pun completely intended) the early storm the Blue Jackets will bring. Coming out of the first period tied or with the lead will give them a big advantage in the last 40 minutes. As long as they stay out of the box and continue their recent play, they’ll have a good chance to make it 12 of 13 games with at least a point. A Hurricanes point would put them in the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.