The Blue Jackets wrap up their four-game season series with the Carolina Hurricanes today, and for the home team, it’s an opportunity to square the series after disappointing results in the first two meetings.
Carolina was in control during their victory at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 4, and three days later, the Hurricanes rallied on home ice to force overtime and eventually won the game on a goal from Elias Lindholm in the extra session. Those two games were part of a rough stretch for the Blue Jackets, who went from Oct. 24 to Nov. 14 without a victory.
Earlier this week, the two teams met again at PNC Arena and the Blue Jackets did not get off on the right foot. They were down 3-1 after 20 minutes, a period that included a rare outburst from Sergei Bobrovsky that seemed to have at least some sort of “wake up” effect on the rest of the team. They scored once in the second and another in the third to get to overtime and Ryan Johansen’s slick shootout winner earned the extra point.
In the last five games (of which the Jackets have won four), Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards has been pleased with the consistency of his team’s play aside from a smattering of expected hiccups.
“There have been some good moments,” Richards said. “Our last game in Carolina, we didn’t start very well and you could see the guys weren’t happy with it. After that, we got back to our process. I think that carried over into Detroit. We were disappointed in certain areas of our home game (vs. Edmonton) on Friday but we still found a way to win.
"We finished the game as far as doing things the right way, and tonight is another opportunity.”
DUBINSKY IS BACK
Some good news for the Blue Jackets this morning: Brandon Dubinsky is expected back in the lineup after a two-game absence due to illness. It’s been a rough few days for Dubinsky, who has dealt with dehydration and some weight loss while battling a flu bug that also affected Nick Foligno and Artem Anisimov last week.
Dubinsky practiced yesterday and has felt much better the past couple of days, he said. Richards does not yet know where Dubinsky will slot into the lineup, saying it’s a decision they will likely make following the pre-game warmup.
Bobrovsky will start in goal for Columbus tonight, Richards said. It’s the seventh straight appearance for Bobrovsky (and sixth start) since returning from a groin injury on Mar. 3 vs. Washington. He’s been playing well of late, including a sparkling 41-save performance in a 3-1 win over the Red Wings on Thursday and two perfect outings in the shootout on Tuesday and Friday (8-for-8).
No changes on the blue line for the Blue Jackets, which means the pairings will look like this: Johnson-Savard, Tyutin-Prout, Murray-Connauton.