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The Official Site of the Columbus Blue Jackets

Game Day Blog: vs. Carolina (continued)

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

4:15 P.M.:

Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:

* Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

* Giveaway! Tonight, all fans will receive a Panini set of Blue Jackets trading cards. Featuring Derek Dorsett, Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal, James Wisniewski and R.J. Umberger, each pack also includes a bonus limited edition Jack Johnson trading card when you make a purchase at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Store. Don’t forget to pick yours up at any entrance tonight.

* Tonight is another 50/50 Raffle night, presented by Coldwell Banker. Look for your 50/50 volunteers in the blue aprons to purchase your ticket for only $1! Tonight’s beneficiary is the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.

* Speaking of pets, want to see one of these cuties on the boards for the March 30th game? Go vote for your favorite in Petland’s Favorite Pet contest.

* Love the song but have no idea what it is? Give @CBJ_DJ a follow. He live tweets all of Nationwide’s musical selections throughout the game.

Haven’t yet picked up your tickets for tonight’s tilt with Carolina? Don’t forget you can purchase a Tim Hortons Jackets Pack for only $30, or starting at 5 p.m. at the Box Office only, Huntington Green Seats for only $10.
3:45 P.M.:

"3 Keys To The Game"
Face-off between the Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes is a little more than three hours away. How do these two clubs match up? We give you tonight's "3 Keys" to victory, a sample of what the Blue Jackets need to do to earn two points in this inter-conference showdown.

1. Move the puck quickly: This is especially true in the defensive zone -- the Hurricanes' identity is built around pressuring the puck and forcing opponents into mistakes using their forecheck, meaning the Blue Jackets must focus on exiting the defensive zone quickly and getting up the ice in transition.

2. Quality over quantity: Cam Ward is one of the top goaltenders in the National Hockey League, and one who gets better when he sees a high volume of shots on goal. He was masterful last week against the league-leading St. Louis Blues, putting together a 40-save shutout and making difficult saves look routine. The Blue Jackets' recipe for success will be to stick to their game plan to create scoring chances, and bury the opportunities they get.

3. Fight fire with fire: The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets are two teams that thrive on the success of their forecheck, and with Carolina preferring to use their pressure game to start their attack, Columbus can combat that by spending time in the offensive zone. Evidence of that came against a skating team like Colorado, who couldn't get anything going because the Blue Jackets spent most of the game in the Avalanche zone. The more time the Hurricanes spend chasing the puck, the Blue Jackets will be better off.

1:50 P.M.:
Hurricanes Lines & Pairs

The Hurricanes are not expected to make any lineup changes for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets. The combinations employed by Kirk Muller in their 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night appear to be remaining intact. Cam Ward is slated to start in goal for Carolina, as he was the first goaltender off the ice after their morning skate.

Here is the Hurricanes' projected lineup for tonight's game:




- One name to keep an eye on tonight is Sutter...the 23-year-old native of Huntington, NY is in his fourth NHL season and is a former first-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2007. He's a member of the famed Sutter hockey family and has blossomed in his role of the "stopper" center -- but that's not all the Hurricanes want from him. His offensive game is on the upswing, as well, and his 15 goals on the season are the fifth-most on the team, despite playing against opposing teams' top lines.

- Captain Eric Staal is on fire, too. He's got seven points in his last five games and has been a huge spark in Carolina's recent surge. He and Tlusty have clicked this year and adding LaRose on the right side of that line has given the trio a noticeable edge. LaRose scored the game-winner last weekend in Winnipeg with just over a minute left in regulation.

1:42 P.M.:
Carolina Head Coach Kirk Muller on Jackets TV:

1:32 P.M.:
Bob McElligott's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV:

1:17 P.M.:
Todd Richards on Jackets TV:

12:39 P.M.:
Cam Atkinson on Jackets TV:

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