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Gameday: Blue Jackets vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
So is it winter now, or nah?


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Metropolitan Division showdown between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

The Hurricanes will be on the ice at PNC Arena for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate, and we’ll be rinkside as always to bring you updates. Until then, a preview of tonight’s match-up can be found below.

Last updated: 6:40 p.m.



CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
6:40 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters said that forward Victor Rask would be a game-time decision, and it appears as if he will not play. He was on the ice for warm-ups but did not participate in line rushes. Here's the Canes' group of forwards.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Nash-Terry
Malone-McClement-McGinn



BEFORE THE FACEOFF AND MORE
4:30 p.m.

A couple of videos for you to enjoy this Friday afternoon in advance of tonight's puck drop. First up: Before the Faceoff with Michelle McMahon, a comprehensive preview to get you set for tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown.


Next up: injured forwards Nathan Gerbe (lower body) and Phil Di Giuseppe (concussion) skated today. Gerbe's involvement was more hands-on, as he participated in many of this morning skate's drills. Di Giuseppe, on the other hand, came out for a quick spin as the skate was wrapping up. Peters said he's hoping to get Gerbe back mid-January, while there is no timeline for Di Giuseppe's return.




REPLAY: STORM SURGE
12:30 p.m.

Catch a replay of this morning's episode of Storm Surge, which aired live during the Hurricanes morning skate. It run just under 20 minutes and is hosted by Michelle McMahon, featuring commentary and insight from John Forslund.




PREGAME: PETERS
12:15 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media after the Canes' morning skate today. Here's a look at what he discussed.

On playing Columbus back-to-back: "I like the back-to-back. I like playing them within 7-10 days. Not much changes; your pre-scout stays the same, and you use head-to-head clips for game two. I like it."

On six straight periods against the same team: "We're halfway through the year and we haven't seen them. Now we play them on back-to-back nights. It's a little bit different ... but it happens throughout the year."

On juggling forward lines: "The lines this morning, we'll see if that's how they stay. The problem right now is that we haven't scored coming out of Christmas. We haven't scored at all. ... We need some offense out of the Staals, and we need some offense out of the Rask line if that's the way it's going to be."

On the schedule prior to the All-Star break: "We're going to manage the energy levels properly, but we have to make sure we empty the tank during games. ... We'll take the days off accordingly, and our pregame skates will be just enough to give us what we need to stay sharp. Yesterday was a travel day, and we didn't skate. There's not a lot of practice time. ... There's a lot of hockey with some travel, so we'll be smart about it."

On the addition of Seth Jones and how that changes Columbus' defense: "It's impactful, for sure. He's a good player, and it gives them a very solid D corps. I like their D corps with a lefty and righty in all three pairs. ... It really sets them up well. In my opinion, that's the way you do it. They made their D corps better with that trade."

Conversely, on the loss of Ryan Johansen: "That's the thing, right? It's a pure hockey trade, in my opinion. A real good trade for both organizations. Both guys were No. 4 overall in their respective draft years. To get quality you have to trade quality, and that's what we've just seen happen."

On tonight's opponent: "They work hard and play hard. They're a big, physical team that poses a challenge to getting in on the inside offensively. We've got to play fast and make sure we're managing and moving the puck."




CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:30 a.m.

Some juggling with the Canes forward lines this morning, as head coach Bill Peters and his staff search for some additional offensive production. The brothers Staal have been reunited on the top line, while Victor Rask appears no worse for wear after leaving Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury.

UPDATE: Peters said Rask would be a game-time decision and confirmed Ward as tonight's starting goaltender.

E. Staal-J. Staal-Versteeg
Nordstrom-Rask-Lindholm
Skinner-Nash-Terry
Malone-McClement-Nestrasil

Hainsey-Faulk
Liles-Pesce
Hanifin-Slavin

Ward
Lack

Brock McGinn and Michal Jordan appear to be tonight's healthy extras. We'll have more from inside the room in just a bit.




CANES BEGIN BACK-TO-BACK SET AGAINST JONES, BLUE JACKETS
6:00 a.m.

Though the Carolina Hurricanes have played exactly 50 percent of their games in the 2015-16 regular season, tonight marks their first match-up with a Metropolitan Division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

BLUE JACKETS vs. HURRICANES
Blue Jackets vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
INFOGRAPHIC: ALL-STAR JUSTIN FAULK
FAULK SELECTED FOR 2016 NHL ALL-STAR GAME
CANES PROSPECTS THRIVE AT WJC
TWEETMAIL NO. 92: 2016, WJC & MORE
VIDEOS
JUSTIN FAULK: ALL-STAR
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
But by Saturday night, the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets will have played 50 percent of their four-game season series thanks to a back-to-back, home-and-home weekend set between these two divisional opponents.

The Hurricanes are returning home after spending the front half of the week in Western Canada, where they dropped an overtime decision to the Edmonton Oilers, 1-0, and were edged late in the third period by the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2. The Canes will play three of their next five games at PNC Arena, where they’ve earned points in three straight games.

Columbus trails Carolina by six points in the standings, as the Blue Jackets sit in last place in the Eastern Conference at 15-23-3 (33 points). The Jackets fell 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, the end of a three-game homestand, but they won consecutive games prior to that for the sixth time this season.

Columbus made a splash on Wednesday, acquiring defenseman Seth Jones from Nashville in exchange for forward Ryan Johansen. Both are former fourth overall picks, Johansen in 2010 and Jones in 2013. Having just faced Jones on Jan. 2, the Hurricanes will now face the budding young defensive star twice in two nights.

Cam Ward and Eddie Lack split goaltending duties on the Canes’ brief jaunt north. Ward turned away 26 of 27 shots in Edmonton, while Lack made 18 saves in his return to Vancouver, what proved to be his first regulation loss in seven starts. Ward is 2-4-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average in eight career appearances against Columbus, while Lack is winless in two career games with a 3.89 goals-against average.

Victor Rask left Wednesday night’s game in Vancouver with an upper-body injury. His status is unknown for tonight’s match-up. Phil Di Giuseppe has missed two games with a concussion, while Nathan Gerbe is possibly a week or two away from returning from a lower-body injury that has kept him sidelined for 21 games and counting.

CANESPR NOTES: Though the Blue Jackets have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the two teams, the Hurricanes won the 2014-15 season series, going 3-0-1. … The Hurricanes have allowed just two power-play goals in their last 13 games, killing 25 of 27 in that stretch. … Ron Hainsey is closing in on 800 career games played in the NHL. He’s five games shy at the moment. ... The Hurricanes rank first in the NHL in faceoff win percentage (53.1).



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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