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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Game Preview

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The Hurricanes look to start a brand new winning streak.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The only good thing about a loss that snaps an otherwise epic winning streak is that, well, it gives you the chance to start a whole new streak. You’re (a couple of days) older, wiser, learned a lesson or two from the loss. The Carolina Hurricanes have the chance to get a good head start on a new streak as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first of four games in a home-and-home series.

The Blue Jackets, who likely hoped that their season’s drama would have been over as soon as they wrapped up the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade, have continued to struggle since then and find themselves rapidly falling behind the top four in the Central Division. While the “is John Tortorella trying to get himself fired” chatter has quieted somewhat, life hasn’t gotten easier for the team.

The Blue Jackets have lost four of their last five, and the only win in that span came in overtime. Patrik Laine, hoped to be the solution to many of the Blue Jackets’ offensive woes, has two points in his last 10 games, and those two points came in the same game.

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

  • Jake Gardiner, who has been doing the taxi squad shuffle since being waived last week, has been bumped back up to the NHL roster. He recorded seven points in 17 games before being sidelined with a back injury.
  • The Hurricanes currently have the best power play in the league, with 13 goals on the man advantage over the last 10 games. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have one of the worst penalty kills in the league, currently 28th, surrounded by teams like New Jersey and Nashville.
  • Perhaps most remarkable about the Blue Jackets’ aggressively mediocre penalty kill is the fact that they are one of the least penalized teams in the league. They’ve taken a total of 82 penalty minutes to date, averaging 6:56 of penalty time per game. So you may not get many opportunities to go up on the power play against them, but when you do, you’ve got a pretty good shot at making it count.
  • The four-game series between the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets has all the signs of feeling like a mini-playoff round. While not quite as intense as the seven consecutive games the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues played in February, these four games will give plenty of opportunities for some bad blood to surface.
  • In case you’re standings-watching, or trying to do some complicated math: the Blue Jackets are currently 12 points behind the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have two games in hand.
  • And just in case you missed it, this look back at the Hurricanes’ fantastic start to the season will put you in a good mood.