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Game Preview #44 - High Pressure Warning

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The Jackets are back in action at home tonight against the surging Hurricanes.

Kirk Irwin

Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 10, 2014 - 7:00 pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Canes Country
SBN's Blue Jackets vs Hurricanes coverage

The Blue Jackets take the ice at home tonight for the first time in awhile, and are coming off of three days rest. They face a red-hot team in Carolina tonight, however, as the Canes come in winners of five straight. After making a move on defense for John-Michael Liles but also losing Cam Ward and Eric Staal to injury, all the Canes have done is ride Anton Khudobin and some solid defense to five straight wins over some decent opponents.

Jeff Skinner continues to carry the scoring load with Staal out, and Skinner has points in six straight games (7G, 5A) and a staggering 18 goals in his last 19 games. As you'll remember, he scored twice against the Jackets when they played in Raleigh recently.

Khudobin has come in with Ward hurt and has started four straight, with wins in all four. He's allowed just seven goals on 139 shots, good for a .950 save percentage. This doesn't bode well for Columbus, they of the career of making backups look like Vezina winners.

For Columbus, some good news and some bad news. First, the good: Matt Calvert is back off the IR list tonight, and draws in with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. Calvert seems to be a great engine for driving the Jackets' effort level, for whatever reason, so his return helps a lot. That said, the Jackets lose a strong physical presence in Blake Comeau, who went on IR with a sprained knee and is lost for four to six weeks.

It's going to come down to one thing for Columbus tonight: energy. If they manage to build a lead, they cannot sit on it tonight. They have to be good on special teams, as the PK has been just brutal for the past 11 games, allowing 12 goals on 46 times short-handed (73.9% conversion). The PK burned them last time against Carolina. Killing penalties relies on energy. Calvert should help there, too.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(19-20-4, 42 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)

Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Boone Jenner Artem Anisimov Nathan Horton
Ryan Craig Mark Letestu Corey Tropp
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Carolina Hurricanes
(19-16-9, 47 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Tuomo Ruutu Jeff Skinner Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe Jordan Staal Patrick Dwyer
Zach Boychuk Brett Sutter Elias Lindholm
Drayson Bowman Manny Malhotra Radek Dvorak
Justin Faulk Andrej Sekera
Ron Hainsey Brett Bellemore
John-Michael Liles Ryan Murphy
Anton Khudobin
Justin Peters

Season Series

12/23/13 - Columbus 4 at Carolina 3
01/10/14 - Carolina at Columbus
01/27/14 - Columbus at Carolina
03/18/14 - Carolina at Columbus
03/29/14 - Columbus at Carolina

Head to Head Stats

Carolina Columbus
2.50 (21) GPG 2.65 (14)
2.77 (18) GAPG 2.91 (19)
14.9% (25) PP% 17.1% (20)
79.7% (22) PK% 79.3% (24)
Jeff Skinner, 21 G leader Ryan Johansen, 16
Eric Staal, 25 A leader Brandon Dubinsky / James Wisniewski, 20
Jeff Skinner / Eric Staal, 35 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 32
Eric Staal, 48 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 70
9-8-4 Road/Home 9-9-2
1/9 vs. Toronto, W 6-1 Last Game 1/6 @ NY RangersW 4-3 (SO)
5-3-2 Last 10 5-5-0