BLUE JACKETS VS. HURRICANES
FRIDAY, 7 PM
GAME NOTES | PHOTO GALLERY
BLUE JACKETS 3 | HURRICANES 0
WATCH: Cam Atkinson scores a PPG off the rush to make it 3-0 Jackets.
GOAL AUDIO: Cam Atkinson PPG
WATCH: Second period highlights...
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Not the best middle period from Columbus but they maintain their 2-0 edge thanks to strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. He had to be sharp in the second period, as the Hurricanes out-shot the Blue Jackets 16-8 and now lead 23-17 in that regard through 40 minutes. Two saves stand out: a re-direction pad stop on Alex Semin at the far post, and a glove save on Elias Lindholm who had a clean look in the right circle. The Blue Jackets had a couple of chances in the second period, but nothing sustained in the offensive zone.
WATCH: First period highlights from Blue Jackets-Hurricanes.
WATCH: What a shot by Dubinsky! This rocket made it a 2-0 lead for Columbus.
WATCH: Boone Jenner gets things started for the Blue Jackets with this wicked wrister.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Hard to script a better start for the Blue Jackets, who were aggressive and on their toes in the opening 20 minutes. They were doing what they do well - getting the puck in deep, forcing the Carolina defense to make tough decisions, and supporting the puck all over the ice. They lead 2-0 on goals from Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky, and they were two high-quality wrist shots to beat a goaltender (Khudobin) who has been playing extremely well. A great forecheck by Anisimov and Horton sprung Jenner free in front for his goal, and minutes later, Atkinson fed Dubinsky off the rush...and he cranked one past Khudobin, off the post and in for a 2-0 lead.
GOAL AUDIO: Jenner | Dubinsky
WATCH: Here's our new intro video, "Outsiders."
#CBJ SOCIAL CONTEST: Hello, dear friends. It's Friday night, the Blue Jackets are back home to face the Carolina Hurricanes...and the only thing missing is you. Want to join us in the Social Station tonight? Here's what you have to do...
Tweet us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJ with your reply to the following trivia question:
Not counting tonight's game, how many games has Nick Foligno played for the Blue Jackets?
NEW: Blue Jackets pre-game playlist
WATCH: Here's today's edition of the Rink Report featuring Bob McElligott and Jody Shelley.
WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards' pre-game press conference this morning.
WATCH: Matt Calvert makes his return to the lineup tonight, and he spoke with Bobby Mac about it this morning.
WATCH: Nathan Horton talks about making his home debut tonight against Carolina.
WATCH: Jeff Rimer chats with John Davidson about the World Junior, the second half, and the Jackets *finally* getting healthy.
WATCH: Bob McElligott sits down for a 1-on-1 with Jackets leading scorer Ryan Johansen to talk about his breakout season.
UPDATE (11:20 AM): Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards just met with the media after today's morning skate. Here are some snapshots...
- Losing Blake Comeau for 4-6 weeks is a big blow to the Jackets' physical game, Richards said. He can be a tone-setter both in games and in practice, and they'll miss the heavy game he plays in all three zones.
- What concerns Richards about the Hurricanes? He said it's a lot of what other divisional opponents have brought to the table: speed, an attacking game, with solid goaltending.
- Richards coached Khudobin in Minnesota, and he said he's like any other goalie in the NHL: if you don't have bodies around the net disrputing his sight lines, it's going to be an easy night for him. While much improved lately, the Jackets' net presence has to be much stronger tonight.
UPDATE (11:15 AM): A couple of updates from the Jackets dressing room...
- Matt Calvert is back in the lineup and will skate on the left side of Dubinsky and Atkinson.
- Ryan Craig draws into the lineup tonight. He's "good to go," Richards said, and is slotted on the fourth line with Tropp and Letestu.
- Bobrovsky starts. But you knew that.
- Anton Khudobin is expected to start in goal for the Hurricanes, who are red-hot (thanks in part to their goaltending) and have won five straight games.
UPDATE (10:20 AM): Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal tonight for the Blue Jackets. It's his second straight start since returning from a groin injury.
UPDATE (10:05 AM): Here are the Blue Jackets' lines and pairs for tonight's game...
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Jenner - Anisimov - Horton
Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Craig - Letestu - Tropp
Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard
MORNING SKATE: Another day, another very important divisional game for the Blue Jackets as the Carolina Hurricanes are in town. And, we're back at Nationwide Arena! The Blue Jackets are scheduled for a 10 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide and we'll have complete coverage for you right here at Game Day Central all afternoon. 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 are likely to get more good news on the injury front prior to Friday's game against the Hurricanes, as Matt Calvert is expected to return from an upper body injury. Aside from Derek MacKenzie (suspension), Marian Gaborik (collarbone) and Jared Boll (ankle tendon surgery), the Blue Jackets are nearing full strength up front.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in goal for Columbus.
You don't have to remind the Carolina Hurricanes
about their last meeting with the Blue Jackets.
They held a 3-2 lead late into regulation time back on Dec. 23, the last game prior to the NHL's three-day Christmas break. PNC Arena was buzzing, the Hurricanes had rallied in the third period to take the lead on a rather fortuitous bounce, but the Blue Jackets took advantage of two mistakes to tie the game, and then win it with 2:34 left in the third period.
Carolina forward Jiri Tlusty turned the puck over at the offensive blue line with about four minutes remaining, and after one quick outlet pass, the Blue Jackets had an odd-man rushing going the other way. Nick Foligno hit Ryan Johansen - who joined the play late - and Johansen roofed the game-tying goal over Justin Peters, and it turned the game around for a Columbus side that had been reeling a few minutes earlier.
We all know what happened after that: Jack Skille's rising wrist shot befuddled Peters on the short side and the Blue Jackets held off the Hurricanes late, and it could have been a devastating defeat for Carolina. But the Hurricanes have been red-hot since the holiday break, and are closing in on third-place Washington in a jam-packed Metropolitan Division...and they have plenty of company.
Stop us if you've heard this before, but Friday's game at Nationwide Arena has a lot riding on it. The Blue Jackets can inch closer to third place with a home-heavy January schedule in front of them, while the Hurricanes can tie Philadelphia for the third spot.
AT WINNIPEG JETS
SATURDAY, 7 P.M.