BLUE JACKETS AT HURRICANES
SATURDAY, 7 P.M.
PNC ARENA PHOTO GALLERY
FINAL (OT): JACKETS 3 | CANES 2
POST GAME AUDIO: Johansen | Calvert | Prout | McElhinney | Richards
WATCH: Ryan Johansen nets the GWG in OT! | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen wins it in OT! | LISTEN
WATCH: Artem Anisimov 3rd period goal | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: It's an Arty Party in the 3rd! Anisimov ties it up at 2. | LISTEN
WATCH: Matt Calvert's 2nd period goal. | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Matt Calvert ties it up late in the second!
SECOND PERIDO ANALYSIS: This was a relatively uneventful period on both ends...until the final three minutes, that is. Jeff Skinner banged in a loose puck on the door step to put the Hurricanes on top with 3:31 left in the seond period, but the Blue Jackets put together a couple of really good shifts and answered back with a goal of their own. A few seconds after making an ill-advised drop pass off the rush, Matt Calvert made good on his mistake by ripping a wrister past Khudobin to make this a 1-1 hockey game headed to the third period. Shots on goal favor the Jackets 19-18 and they've started to create a little more offense as this game has progressed. More shots, more traffic, more "will" needed in the third period.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: After a slow start, the Jackets seemed to find their legs later in the first period and outplayed the Hurricanes along the way. Columbus is out-shooting Carolina by an 11-7 margin after 20 minutes at PNC Arena in what has been a very ebb-and-flow kind of game. Not many great chances either way, but Curtis McElhinney has had to make the tougher saves and he's done well on the second night of a back-to-back. A good sign for the Blue Jackets is that we really started to see their forecheck get rolling in the final 8-10 minutes of the period.
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets arrived in Raleigh late last night, and play their second game in as many nights tonight at PNC Arena. They aren't expected to hold a formal morning skate, but we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Hurricanes, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets didn't make any changes to their lineup last night against the Penguins, but the possibility always exists on the second night of a back-to-back. Columbus faces the Hurricanes for the fifth and final time this season and the series is currently tied at two apiece, with both teams each winning once at home and on the road.
On defense, Richards seems to like the way his three pairings are currently working together. There's a strong chance that the six defensemen don't change.
Depending on Sergei Bobrovsky's health, Curtis McElhinney could make a second straight start but more will be known in the morning. Bobrovsky traveled with the Blue Jackets to Raleigh, which should be considered a good sign.
After a tough loss to the Penguins last night at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets have to pick themselves up and do so quickly.
They'll play the fifth of five meetings against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at PNC Arena in Raleigh, and the two teams have been pretty evenly-matched to this point. Each has won once at home and on the road, with the Hurricanes taking the last two meetings, the most recent a 46-save shutout by Anton Khudobin last week at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets won't have fond memories of their last visit to the Triangle, though, after letting a 2-0 third-period lead slip away back in late January. They seemed have the game under control before the Staal brothers led a furious rally in the second half of the third period, taking Carolina from two down to a one-goal lead with under six minutes to go.
Columbus would be well-served to keep that memory fresh when they close out their season series with Carolina tonight. They need points and they need points now, making this a must-win game for the Jackets in a building they've enjoyed modest success in over the years.
Their hope is that Bobrovsky is healthy enough to get back in the net, but after a strong performance from McElhinney on Friday, Richards should feel comfortable with either option.
VS. COLORADO AVALANCHE
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.