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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Thursday lineups and game discussion

The Hurricanes will open a four-game set with the Blue Jackets tonight.

Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2021 editions of the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are going to get very familiar with each other over the next eight days. Tonight’s game will kick off four straight matchups between the former Metropolitan Division Opponents.

Tonight will also represent a milestone for one Hurricane, as Jordan Martinook will play his 400th NHL game.

With Petr Mrazek not ready to return and the rotation the Canes have been using in net, it’s expected that Alex Nedeljkovic will get the nod between the pipes tonight. Nedeljkovic has been stellar of late, with a 5-1-0 record, one shutout, just nine goals allowed and .950 save percentage in his last six starts.

While Teuvo Tervainen, Vincent Trocheck and Mrazek skated before the main group this morning, and Jake Gardiner skated with that group, Rod Brind’Amour said there would be no changes from Tuesday’s game.

Here’s how the Hurricanes will line up tonight:

Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn - Jordan Martinook - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Morgan Geekie - Steven Lorentz

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

Alex Nedeljkovic
James Reimer

Injuries: Petr Mrazek (right thumb), Tevuo Teravainen (IR, concussion symptoms), Vincent Trocheck (upper body)

Taxi squad: Jake Gardiner, Joey Keane, Max McCormick, Beck Warm

This four-game stretch will be vital for Columbus, which currently sits four points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Joonas Korpisalo will start in net against the Canes, and the Blue Jackets will make a trio of lineup changes with Mikhail Grigorenko, Ryan MacInnis and Stefan Matteau drawing in. Here’s how Columbus is expected to line up:

Oliver Bjorkstrand - Nick Foligno - Patrik Laine
Max Domi - Jack Roslovic - Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner - Riley Nash - Mikhaeil Grigorenko
Stefan Matteau - Ryan MacInnis - Eric Robinson

Zach Weresnki - Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard
Dean Kukan - Michael Del Zotto

Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

Injuries and scratches: Alexandre Texier (COVID protocol), Kevin Stenlund, Gabriel Carlsson, Scott Harrington

Taxi squad: Zac Dalpe, Cam Johnson