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Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets: Game Preview

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The Hurricanes close out their four-game series against the Blue Jackets tonight.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Call this run of games Alex Nedeljkovic’s revenge, I suppose. After being written off by fans and analysts alike as yet another player who excelled at the AHL level but couldn’t manage at the NHL level, Nedeljkovic, well, seems like he took that personally. He’s posted two shut-outs this season, including Monday night’s bounce back performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It’s too early to even think about decisions for next season, but Nedeljkovic is doing the best he can to make the case for himself to earn his next contract, and perhaps a promotion full-time to the NHL.

After the Charlotte Checkers won the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2019, Nedeljkovic’s post-game interview was frequently interrupted by teammates coming up, shaking him, and shouting: “Ned’s an NHL goalie.” Looks like he’s one step closer to making that dream come true.

It remains to be seen if Rod Brind’Amour will give Nedeljkovic a consecutive start for the first time this season, but he seemed to be at least considering it after Tuesday’s ame

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

  • Tonight closes out the four-game series with the Blue Jackets. The Hurricanes have picked up four points thanks to their overtime losses, and have a chance to fully split the series with a win tonight.
  • The Blue Jackets report no lineup changes for tonight’s game. Joonas Korpisalo is scheduled to start. Elvis Merzlikins, who has missed practice with a non-COVID illness, could back up.
  • The Hurricanes are five points back from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who, conveniently, is the next game up for the Hurricanes.
  • The gap in points between the top three Central teams — the Lightning, Hurricanes, and Panthers — and the Blackhawks is widening. With the Blackhawks cooling off and the Panthers on two-game losing streak, the Hurricanes need to look to continue to put distance between them and their competitors.
  • The Hurricanes have four players with double digit goals so far — Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, and Nino Niederreiter all have 13 and Jordan Staal has 10 — with Andrei Svechnikov close behind. Svechnikov is sitting on nine goals currently.
  • If you’re real big on milestones, Jordan Staal is sitting on 197 career assists. Maybe he’ll have a huge night tonight?