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Game #34 Preview: Blue Jackets look to bounce back vs. Hurricanes

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Here’s what you need to know

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, March 24, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Canes Country

Carolina Hurricanes (21-7-3, 45 points, 2nd Central)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (13-13-7, 33 points, 5th Central)

We knew that this four game series against Carolina could mark a turning point of the season for the Blue Jackets. Three games in we’ve learned...well not much new. Two wins in Carolina put the Jackets in a playoff position. They were playing a physical, defensive-focused game that worked last season. Then they came home and got dominated by Carolina on Monday. Will the Jackets get back to what works tonight, or will Carolina control the game again?

Player to Watch

Patrik Laine

So, uhhhhh, what’s up with Laine? The weather in Columbus has been warming up, but he’s been ice cold. He had a seven game pointless streak, tying the longest of his career. He snapped that with a goal and assist against Florida, but in that same game he was stapled to the bench in the third period and overtime. In the five games since, he has just one assist to show for his effort. He’s getting the minutes he deserves, but he needs to put a lot more pucks on net himself, rather than forcing a pass to his teammate.

Jackets Notes

Meanwhile, Laine’s linemate Oliver BJORKSTRAND continues to be the bet Jackets forward. He has 11 points in his last 10 games ... Goaltending prospect Daniil Tarasov’s KHL team was eliminated from the playoffs, so he is expected to come to America to finish the season with the Cleveland Monsters. He was perfect in relief action in two playoff games, and was 11-3-2 with a 2.07 GAA and .925 Save Percentage in the regular season ... Speaking of goalies, whatever non-COVID bug that is running through the team has struck again:

The Other Bench

The Hurricanes spent their off day on Tuesday at Top Golf ... Vincent Trocheck and Petr Mrazek skated with the team at practice yesterday, but are not expected to play tonight.

Season Series

02/07/2021 CAR 6 @ CBJ 5
02/08/2021 CAR 2 @ CBJ 3
02/15/2021 CBJ 3 @ CAR 7
03/18/2021 CBJ 3 @ CAR 2 (OT)
03/20/2021 CBJ 3 @ CAR 2 (SO)
03/22/2021 CAR 3 @ CBJ 0
03/25/2021 CAR @ CBJ
05/01/2021 CBJ @ CAR

Stats

Carolina Columbus
3.23 (9) GPG 2.55 (25)
2.48 (6) GAPG 3.12 (21)
30.6% (1) PP% 14.8% (26)
82.9% (9) PK% 74.0% (26)
53.0% (4) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 46.2% (31)
52.4% (7) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.3% (27)
7.5 (24) 5v5 Shot % 7.9 (17)
.935 (2) 5v5 Save % .916 (23)
Vincent Trocheck, Nino Niederreiter, and Sebastian Aho, 13 G Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND and Cam Atkinson, 11
Dougie Hamilton, 22 A Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 16
Sebastian Aho, 30 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 27
Andrei Svechnikov, 26 PIM Leader Max Domi, 37
11-6-0 Home / Road 7-6-5
7-1-2 Last 10 5-3-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Kevin Stenlund Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Max Domi Jack Roslovic Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Riley Nash
Stefan Matteau Ryan MacInnis Eric Robinson
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Dean Kukan Michael Del Zotto
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Carolina Hurricanes
Nino Niederreiter Sebastian Aho Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov Jordan Staal Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn Jordan Martinook Warren Foegele
Steven Lorentz Morgan Geekie Cedric Paquette
Jacob Slavin Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei Brett Pesce
Jake Bean Haydn Fleury
James Reimer
Alex Nedeljkovic