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Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets: Game preview, lineups and discussion

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The Hurricanes will face their only holdover opponent from the Metropolitan Division for the first of eight times this season.

Carolina Hurricanes v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

After three straight games playing below their standard, Hurricanes will look to get back on track with a matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Super Bowl Sunday.

Carolina is looking to bounce back from a 6-4 loss in Chicago Thursday night that featured an abysmal special teams performance and way too many defensive breakdowns. There will likely be some lineup changes for both teams, so let’s take a look at the matchup.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Blue Jackets
Category Hurricanes Blue Jackets
Record 21-7-3 13-13-7
Goals/Game 3.23 2.54
Goals Against/Game 2.48 3.12
Shots/Game 31.52 28.70
Face Off Win % 54.4% 46.2%
Power Play % (Rank) 30.6% (1st) 14.8% (26th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 82.9% (9th) 74.0% (26th)
ES Corsi For % 53.04% 46.16%
ES PDO 100.96 99.42
PIM/Game 07:21 06:43

Goaltender #1

Category James Reimer Joonas Korpisalo
Category James Reimer Joonas Korpisalo
Record 12-4-1 8-10-5
Save % 0.909 .900
GAA 2.68 2.98

Goaltender #2

Category Alex Nedeljkovic Elvis Merzlikins
Category Alex Nedeljkovic Elvis Merzlikins
Record 7-2-2 5-3-2
Save % .930 .912
GAA 1.96 2.91

Game Notes

  • This will be the first meeting between the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets this season. The Hurricanes, are, of course, significantly more familiar with Columbus than any of their other new opponents, as the pair faced off four or five times per season in the Metropolitan Division over the last seven seasons. The Canes went 0-2-1 against the Jackets last season.
  • This is the front half of a back-to-back, as the teams will square off again on Monday.
  • Columbus is the second-to-last team in the new division the Canes haven’t played yet this season, due to their schedule adjustments over the COVID pause, they’ve yet to face the Florida Panthers as well.
  • This will be the third game as a Blue Jacket for Patrik Laine, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Winnipeg last month. Laine scored his first Columbus goal Thursday in a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars.
  • Oliver Bjorkstand is off to a hot start for Columbus, and currently leads the Blue Jackets with four goals and 10 points in 12 games.

Lineups

Updated from Rod Brind’Amour’s media availability:

The Canes remain without Petr Mrazek, who underwent thumb surgery last week. Brind’Amour said that it will be James Reimer in net. Alex Nedeljkovic’s first start of the season could come tomorrow in the second half of this back to back.

The Canes will most likely be without Martin Necas Sunday following his scary injury Thursday, but there was good news on that front: Brind’Amour said Saturday that Necas would “be out for a little while, but I don’t think it’s going to be very long.”

Brind’Amour also said that Jesper Fast, who was removed from the NHL’s COVID protocol list and practiced with the team Saturday, will draw in: ““He probably needs more practice time, but he’s going to play. So that’s just how it is now a days. He had one practice with us, and he said he felt pretty good, so he’ll be out there.””

Here are Hurricanes’ projected lines:

Andrei Svechinkov - Sebastian Aho - Brock McGinn
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Jordan Martinook - Morgan Geekie - Jesper Fast

Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Brady Skjei - Dougie Hamilton
Haydn Fleury - Jake Gardiner

James Reimer
Alex Nedeljkovic

Injuries and scratches: Petr Mrazek (thumb), Max McMormick, (IR upper body), Martin Necas (upper body),

Taxi Squad: Jake Bean, Steven Lorentz, Joakim Ryan, Antoine Bibeau


Columbus is also dealing with its share of injuries, with backup goalie Elvis Merzlikins and defenseman Zach Werenski both on injured reserve, with both unavailable for this game. It was announced Thursday morning that third goalie Matiss Kivlenieks is also out with an upper-body injury, meaning Cam Johnson has been recalled from the taxi squad.

In net, the Canes with either see Joonas Korpisalo or the season debut of .

Here’s our best estimation for Columbus’ lines, with the D pairings minus Werenski from Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

Patrik Laine - Jack Roslovic - Cam Atkinson
Max Domi - Alexandre Texier - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno - Riley Nash - Eric Robinson
Boone Jenner - Mikko Koivu - Liam Foudy

Dean Kukan - Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard
Michael Del Zotto - Scott Harrington

Joonas Korpisalo
Cam Johnson

Injuries and scratches: Zach Werenski (IR lower body), Elvis Merzlikins (IR, upper body), Matiss Kivlenieks (lower body), Mikhail Grigorenko (healthy), Kevin Stenlund (healthy), Gabriel Carlsson (healthy)

Taxi squad: Emil Bemstrom, Andrew Peeke, Stefan Matteau, Adam Clendening