Game #71 Preview: Blue Jackets in Eye of Storm
Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s critical matchup.
Friday, March 15, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Canes Country
Carolina Hurricanes, 38-24-7, 83 points, 4th Metro, 7th East
Columbus Blue Jackets, 39-28-3, 81 points, 5th Metro, t-8th East
Off one of its better offensive performances in recent weeks, let alone of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets look to strike again when they entertain the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Nationwide Arena. Following a 7-4 win Tuesday over the Bruins, the Blue Jackets need to string together wins as they make their playoff push. They will be in Boston tomorrow night to conclude their back-to-back.
But first, the Blue Jackets must bank two more points in the fourth and final regular season series meeting against the Hurricanes, a team Columbus trails by two points for the first wild card. On the season, Columbus comes in 1-2 against the Hurricanes. They dropped the home opener 3-1 before taking a 4-1 decision in Raleigh last November, a game in which Cam Atkinson scored four points including the hat trick. Carolina took the last meeting, also in Raleigh back in January, 4-2.
Player to Watch
Sebastian Aho is only 21-years-old and in his third NHL season, is among the best, most underrated players in the game. Leading the Hurricanes in goals (30), tied for the lead with 47 assists, and leading the club in points (77), Aho has already set career highs among the three categories. Since Jan. 1, Aho’s 38 points ties him for eighth-most in the league.
Alexandre Texier will be assigned to Cleveland after finishing his season with KalPa of the Liga league. ... For KalPa, Texier had 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 55 games. ... Another Blue Jackets prospect playing overseas that is of high interest is that of goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, whose club, Lugano in Switzerland, is trailing its best-of-seven series 3-0 with Game 4 on Saturday. ... Merzlikins is expected to come to North America after his playoff run to finish the 2018-19 season. ... The entire team, minus Ryan Murray, practiced on Thursday. ... Murray is still nursing an upper-body injury with no timetable for his return.
The Other Bench
When the Hurricanes traded star Jeff Skinner to the Sabres before the season, few likely expected the ‘Canes would be primed for a playoff run in mid March. And yet, the Hurricanes, under rookie head coach Rod Brind’Amour, find themselves in that very position. Since January, Carolina is tied for the second best record in the NHL with 46 points (22-7-2) and come into tonight’s action 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Their five-game winning streak was snapped against the Bruins in overtime on March 5, their six-game point streak was ended in an 8-1 defeat to the Jets. But since then, the “Bunch of Jerks” have turned the corner with wins in their last two, most recently a 3-0 shutout at the Avalanche.
Similar to Columbus, the Hurricanes feature a penalty kill unit inside the top 10 (81.9%) and fire the most shots in the league per game (34.7), while surrendering the second-fewest (28.4).
Micheal Ferland, who missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, practiced Thursday and could play tonight. Calvin de Haan is out with an eye injury suffered in the last game against Colorado and did not practice Thursday.
10/5/2018 CAR 3 @ CBJ 1
11/7/2018 CBJ 4 @ CAR 1
1/4/2019 CBJ 2 @ CAR 4
3/15/2019 CAR @ CBJ
|3.00 (13)||GPG||3.07 (11)|
|2.74 (t-6)||GAPG||2.96 (t-13)|
|17.4% (20)||PP%||15.2% (26)|
|81.9% (6)||PK%||84.8% (3)|
|54.76% (1)||EV Corsi %||50.49% (12)|
|99.3 (t-21)||EV PDO||99.7 (t-17)|
|Sebastian Aho, 33||G Leader||Cam Atkinson, 38|
Teuvo Teravainen, 47
|A Leader||Artemi Panarin, 49|
|Sebastian Aho, 30||P Leader||Artemi Panarin, 74|
|Andrei Svechnikov, 56||PIM Leader||Josh Anderson, 58|
|20-13-3||Home / Road||19-16-2|
Columbus Blue Jackets
|Artemi Panarin||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Cam Atkinson|
|Ryan Dzingel||Matt Duchene||Josh Anderson|
|Nick Foligno||Boone Jenner||Oliver Bjorkstrand|
|Riley Nash||Lukas Sedlak||Brandon Dubinsky|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Markus Nutivaara||David Savard|
|Scott Harrington||Adam McQuaid|
|Joonas Korpisalo / Keith Kinkaid|
|Sebastian Aho||Justin Williams|
|Andrei Svechnikov||Jordan Staal||Teuvo
|Brock McGinn||Lucas Wallmark||Jordan Martinook|
|Warren Foegele||Greg McKegg||
|Jaccob Slavin||Dougie Hamilton|
|Brett Pesce||Justin Faulk|
|Haydn Fleury||Trevor Van Riemsdyk|