COLUMBUS - Following five days of rest, the Carolina Hurricanes return to action against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Hurricanes are coming off a three-game trek through California, during which they recorded a 1-2-0 reocrd. This divisional match-up is a rematch from nearly two weeks ago in Raleigh in which the Blue Jackets claimed a 3-2 victory.
The Long Nap
A quirk in the schedule led to the Hurricanes having a five-day gap in between their California finale against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 18 and their Metropolitan Division tilt against the Blue Jackets tonight.
Though a continuation of the Canes' annual State Fair road trip, the team returned home for a few days of practice following a set of three games in four nights in California.
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"It could help us if we use it right to rest up and get guys healthy," Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour cautioned against the extended break. "It could hurt you because you rest and don't really practice the way you want to be sharp. We'll find out."
Haula Dodges Injured List
Erik Haula left the game in Anaheim on Friday with an upper-body injury and did not return, though the Canes' leading goal scorer returned to practice on Wednesday.
"He's been out for a while, so that was the benefit of having this much time off," Brind'Amour said. "He obviously needed it, and it was good to see him back."
Haula centered Martin Necas and Ryan Dzingel in practice on Wednesday.
The Last Meeting
The Canes and Blue Jackets last met nearly two weeks ago in Raleigh. Columbus handed the Canes their first regulation loss of the season by a score of 3-2. It was a game in which the Canes, for the first time in the 2019-20 season, just didn't have it - at least, not enough of it.
"We were flat," Brind'Amour said after the game. "I give the other team credit. They played a great road game. They grinded us down, and we didn't want to get to our game enough. That's what happens."
The Blue Jackets used that 3-2 victory over the Canes on Oct. 12 as a springboard for their current five-game point streak (3-0-2). After earning points in consecutive overtime losses to Chicago and the New York Islanders, the Blue Jackets topped Toronto, 4-3, in overtime on Tuesday.
"We know what we're getting into going up there, what kind of game it's going to be," Brind'Amour said. "We're going to have to be better in all areas to give us a chance to win."
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