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Carolina Hurricanes @ Columbus Blue Jackets: Game Preview

The Hurricanes look to stay undefeated as they head to Ohio. (There’s almost always something happening in Ohio.)

Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The lineup of undefeated-in-regulation teams has a handful of surprise entries. Raise your hand if you thought the San Jose Sharks would start the season 4-0-0?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

The Carolina Hurricanes look tonight to remain among that small but weird club as they seek their fourth consecutive win. They face the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have just one loss to date — nearly as odd as the undefeated Sharks, given how the expectations for the Blue Jackets are low this year.

The Blue Jackets have had an emotional start to their season, however, with the team honoring the memory of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. And there’s no doubt that the Blue Jackets — particularly, fellow Latvian goaltender Elvis Merzlikins — wanting to play for him is the sort of thing that can propel a team to unexpected heights.

Granted, the Blue Jackets haven’t faced competition quite like the Hurricanes yet. With wins over Arizona, Seattle, and the struggling Islanders, is their success a mirage? Let’s see how the teams stack up.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Sabres
Category Hurricanes Sabres
Record 15-6-1 8-12-3
Goals/Game 3.14 2.91
Goals Against/Game 2.27 3.65
Shots/Game 33.68 29.13
Face Off Win % 53.7% 45.6%
Power Play % (Rank) 18.9% (15th) 20.0% (13th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 88.1% (3rd) 78.3% (24th)
ES Corsi For % 55.98% 48.32%
ES PDO 101.24 99.60
PIM/Game 09:16 07:21

Goaltender #1

Category Frederik Andersen Craig Anderson
Category Frederik Andersen Craig Anderson
Record 11-5-0 4-2-0
Save % .928 .921
GAA 2.05 2.49

Goaltender #2

Category Antti Raanta Dustin Tokarski
Category Antti Raanta Dustin Tokarski
Record 3-1-1 4-5-3
Save % .894 .903
GAA 2.49 3.28

Game Notes

  • Seth Jarvis Watch continues. #FreeSeth
  • The injury bug has already hit Columbus, with forwards Emil Bemstrom and Max Domi currently out of the lineup.
  • Columbus is led in scoring by Oliver Bjorkstrand, who’s been a fairly consistent goal scorer throughout his NHL career. Defensively, he was a mess last season, but then again: who wasn’t, in Columbus? A seemingly refreshed Patrik Laine is second in scoring (but first on every NHL fashion power ranking).
  • The Hurricanes will be reunited with Jake Bean tonight. Bean played 44 games with the Hurricanes, recording one goal and 11 assists. He’s got one goal in four appearances with the Blue Jackets so far and has an average ice time of 21:41, a career high.
  • After this game, the Hurricanes return home for a four game homestand. Beware the “ah, man, we just want to go home” vibes that always set in on road trips, no matter how brief.
  • In the Hurricanes Without Points watch, we’re down to Ian Cole, Derek Stepan, and Steven Lorentz. Who breaks through first?