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Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes

Jackets hit the road for back-to-back games

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

GAME 76: BLUE JACKETS VS. HURRICANES

PNC ARENA, 7:00 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM

The Jackets are back on the road Thursday for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. And with just seven regular season games before the playoffs begin, the Hurricanes are not a team that the second-place Jackets can overlook.

Carolina sits just four points out of a wild card spot and is playing like a team determined to close that gap and make the postseason. The Hurricanes have earned 21 points in the month of March alone (8-2-5) and haven't lost in regulation in 12 straight games (8-0-4).

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Practice Notebook: March 29

Competitive blue line pushes Jackets toward playoffs

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The third defensive pair for the Jackets has had some new looks in the month of March. Kyle Quincey joined the team at the trade deadline, and has played in every game but one since. And Scott Harrington has earned his way back into the lineup, playing in four of the last six.

Both players are earning attention in their own ways. Quincey had the primary assist on the game-winning goal against Philadelphia on Saturday, and scored the first goal of the night Tuesday versus Buffalo.

Harrington not only signed a two-year extension with the team this month, his play has pushed him to the top of the Jackets' defensive ranks in in expected goals for (50.92%) in the month of March.

JACKETS SIGN TRIO TO EXTENSIONS

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The March Is On: A veteran's perspective

Scott Hartnell believes the Blue Jackets have what it takes for a playoff run

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

Scott Hartnell is no stranger to the NHL post-season. Through 10 seasons with Nashville and Philadelphia, the left wing has played in 91 total playoff games, scored 19 goals and added 28 assists.

Now, with the Jackets poised to begin their first post-season run in three years, Hartnell's skill on ice isn't his only asset. He also brings an understanding of what it takes to get ready for, and succeed in, the post season.

"The playoffs are exciting, it's my type of hockey," Hartnell said. "You have to finish checks, you've got to be hard, you have to go to the dirty areas to score goals. All those things add up over a long series and over a long playoff. It's the most fun time.

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"You're playing for that Stanley Cup. But you have to win the first game, and the first series. It's a two-month process, but I'm excited to get started."

Hartnell knows what the post season demands of a team. As he looks around the room at his teammates, many of whom are preparing for their first NHL post-season, he's not worried.

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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 3, BUF 1

Bobrovsky stops 41 shots in Jackets victory at Nationwide Arena

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

It wasn't pretty, but the Jackets earned a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday. Kyle Quincey and Cam Atkinson provided the early scores, and then Sergei Bobrovsky, as he's been known to do, helped the team hang on with 41 saves on 42 shots for his 41st win this season.

The Jackets came into the game looking to jump-start their offensive production, and they stepped up to the plate in the first period. Quincey got the home team on the board 14:47 into the game when, after a flurry of activity in front of the net, he gathered the puck off a Sabres clearing attempt and fired from above the right circle to make it 1-0 with his first goal as a Blue Jacket.

Cam Atkinson, who had moved to a line with Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno, capitalized three minutes later. Seth Jones carried the puck into the offensive zone and sent a perfectly placed pass across the right circle to Atkinson who made it 2-0 with his 34th goal of the season.

After that, the Jackets had to fight through a rough final 40 minutes. In the second period, the Jackets were outshot 12-8 and out attempted 21-14. Buffalo earned a power play goal to make it 2-1 through 40 minutes of play.

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The third period showed some additional changes to the Jackets' forward lines, and they found a little jump in their step, but performed overall only in "spurts" according to head coach John Tortorella. The team went 0-3 on power play opportunities.

Brandon Saad (22-28-50) added a late empty net goal to move the score to 3-1 and mark his third consecutive season with 50 points.

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Jackets, Nationwide Arena announce revised bag policy

The new policy will be in effect beginning with the Sunday, April 2 hockey game

by BlueJackets.com Staff @BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nationwide Arena announced today the introduction of a revised policy regarding the size of bags that guests may bring into the arena for hockey games and special events. Permitted bags must measure no larger than 5"x8"x1" with exceptions allowed for guests that require a larger bag for medical or childcare needs. All permitted oversize bags will be subject to inspection. The new policy will be in effect beginning with the Sunday, April 2 hockey game when the Blue Jackets host the Washington Capitals at 6 p.m.

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Game Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Sabres

Buffalo visits Nationwide Arena to close out season series

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

GAME 75: BLUE JACKETS VS. SABRES

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7:00 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM

Tuesday marks the deciding game of the season series between the Sabres and the Blue Jackets when Buffalo comes to Nationwide Arena. Each team has won one game thus far this year.

The Sabres come to Columbus on the second game of their 17th back-to-back of the season. They play Florida at home Monday. Buffalo will have to fight against a season trend that has put them on the losing end of having two games in a row. They are 6-9-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.

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#CBJ Social Roundup: Mar. 27

#MOREHUGS x 40!

by BlueJackets.com Staff @BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

Bobrovksy gets his seventh shutout and his 40th win of the season in this week's #CBJ social roundup:

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Practice Notebook: March 27

Blue Jackets power play the focus of practice

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets returned to practice Monday and, after a first 25 minutes focused on playing with speed, the team moved to the Ice Haus and worked on the power play.

The Jackets haven't had a power play goal in their last six games despite having nine opportunities with the man advantage. They still rank ninth overall in the League (20.9%), but with the playoffs nearing, the coaching staff decided it was time to change things up with the intention of getting the power play back on track.

The team showed two new power play units, most notably switching Seth Jones and Zach Werenski on the point. Jones led a group made up of Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell and Alexander Wennberg with Nick Foligno playing down low. Werenski's unit played with Boone Jenner close to the net, and Brandon Dubinsky, Brandon Saad, and Sam Gagner across the zone.

"We've tried to stay with our lineups as long as we can," head coach John Tortorella "Because it was very effective for most of the year. But I want to see a change in personnel to even both units out a little bit. We've had most of the top players on the number one unit and now we're going to try to even them out."

Tortorella hopes that Jones' affinity for shooting will get more pucks on net. He also wants to see his team return to "the foundation" of retrieving pucks, both upon entering the zone, and when capitalizing on second opportunities off a rebound or blocked shot.

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Sergei Bobrovsky nominated for Masterton Trophy

by BlueJackets.com Staff @BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the club announced today. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Bobrovsky, 28, has set a club record and career high for wins this season, compiling a 40-13-5 record with a 1.99 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and seven shutouts in 58 games. He currently leads the NHL in wins, goals-against average and save percentage and is tied for second in shutouts. The Novokuznetsk, Russia native also made his NHL All-Star Game debut in January. The 2012-13 Vezina Trophy winner is 180-103-30 with a 2.44 GAA, .920 SV% and 19 SO in 325 career NHL games with Columbus and Philadelphia.  

FEATURE STORY: Bob back to Vezina form

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Catching up with Rusty Klesla

The first player drafted by the CBJ talks about his connection to Columbus

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

Rostislav "Rusty" Klesla was the first player drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The defenseman was selected fourth overall in 2000 and spent 10 years with the organization. Along the way he attached his name to many franchise firsts, including: road goal scored (Oct. 12, 2000 at Calgary); goal by a defenseman at Nationwide Arena (Oct. 25, 2000 vs. San Jose); and the first shot on goal in the Jackets' inaugural playoff game (Apr. 16, 2009 at Detroit).

Klesla ranks fifth on the club's all-time games played list at 515, which is second only to Fedor Tyutin (553) among defensemen. He is also the club's all-time leader in goals by a defensemen (41) and stands second in points (133).

He played his final season with Columbus in 2010-11 before spending four seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes. He returned to his native Czech Republic in 2014 and resides there with his wife, Krystina, and son, Rostislav (5).

We caught up with the "original Jacket" to reflect on his days in union blue.

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