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Game #82 Preview/Gamethread: A beginning and an end

Jan 12, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) lifts the stick of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nick Blankenburg (77) during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – 7:00 PM EDT
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Site: Category Five Hockey

Carolina Hurricanes (52-22-7, 111 points, 2nd Metro, 2nd East)


Columbus Blue Jackets (26-43-12, 64 points, 8th Metro, 16th East)

Tonight’s game caps off a painful season. Most fans didn’t have the Blue Jackets as a playoff team, but many thought they’d improve upon a disastrous 2022-23 campaign. Instead, what we got was a measly 5-7 point improvement, depending on the outcome of this final game. Jarmo Kekalainen was fired, and Pascal Vincent’s future hangs in the balance. A new GM will take over in the coming months, potentially making more changes on and off the ice. Also, this is Jeff Rimer’s last game – stick taps to him. So, in a way, tonight brings an ending of sorts.

It’s not all gloom, however. Gavin Brindley signed his entry-level contract yesterday, deciding to forego another year at the University of Michigan. The highly-touted 2023 second-round pick will make his NHL debut tonight. It’s too bad Adam Fantilli won’t be able to join him, but he’ll get to play alongside fellow alumni Zach Werenski and Nick Blankenburg. This franchise is entering a new era, and tonight marks a beginning for another promising player.

Player to Watch

Gavin Brindley

Did you really think it would be anyone else? The Big Ten Men’s Hockey Player of the Year went 25-28-53 in 40 games and helped Team USA win a gold medal at World Juniors. He’s a high-motor forward with a scoring touch. But perhaps his best trait is his versatility. He can be effective in either a top-six or bottom-six role. Think of him as a higher ceiling Justin Danforth.

Jackets Notes

Trey Fix-Wolansky and Malcolm Subban were sent back to Cleveland … Elvis will return to the active roster after practicing yesterday … Fantilli was also on the ice yesterday. He will not be in the lineup tonight, but he’s hoping to play for Team Canada at Worlds … Boone Jenner also practiced yesterday, but it’s unclear whether or not he’ll play tonight.

The Other Bench

The Hurricanes have surpassed 110 points for the third season in a row. They are hot, too, going 13-2-1 in their last 16 games. Good luck, Islanders.

Season Series

11/26/2023 CBJ 2 @ CAR 3
02/29/2024 CAR 4 @ CBJ 2
04/07/2024 CBJ 0 @ CAR 3
04/16/2024 CAR @ CBJ


3.38 (7)GPG2.81 (26)
2.53 (3)GAPG3.64 (31)
27.0 (2)PP%15.2 (30)
86.3 (1)PK%76.2 (25)
59.6 (1)5v5 Shot Attempt %47.8 (23)
58.5 (1)5v5 Unblocked Shot Attempt %47.5 (24)
7.9(26)5v5 Shooting %8.8 (12)
91.5 (13)5v5 Save %91.2 (19)
Sebastian Aho, 36G LeaderKirill Marchenko, 23
Sebastian Aho, 53A LeaderJohnny Gaudreau, 48
Sebastian Aho, 89P LeaderJohnny Gaudreau, 59
Brendan Lemieux, 64PIM LeaderErik Gudbranson, 72
8-2-0Last 103-7-0

Projected Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny GaudreauDmitri VoronkovAlex Nylander
Alexandre TexierCole SillingerKirill Marchenko
Gavin BrindleyJustin DanforthMikael Pyyhtia
Mathieu OlivierBrendan GaunceJames Malatesta
Zach WerenskiDamon Severson
Ivan ProvorovErik Gudbranson
Nick BlankenbergDavid Jiricek
Elvis Merzlikins
Jet Greaves

Carolina Hurricanes

Jake GuentzelSebastian AhoSeth Jarvis
Jordan MartinookJordan StaalAndrei Svechnikov
Jesperi KotkaniemiJack DruryMartin Necas
Segan NoesenEvgeny KuznetsovJesper Fast
Jaccob SlavinBrent Burns
Dmitry OrlovBrett Pesce
Jalen ChatfieldTony Deangelo
Frederik Anderson
Pyotr Kochetkov