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Preview: Hurricanes at Blue Jackets

Stage set for big divisional tilt in Columbus

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

COLUMBUS - The Carolina Hurricanes match up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in another Metropolitan Division tilt.

After two straight shutout victories, the Canes were blanked by the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. This marks the final road game in the month of January for the Canes, who play their next five games at home.

Big Divisional Tilt

The Blue Jackets, bolstered by a 6-2-2 record in their last 10 games and two straight shutouts from Elvin Merzlikins, sit just two points behind the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings.

After being shut out by Ilya Samsonov and the Washington Capitals on Monday, Thursday's match in Columbus figures to be a big one.

PROJECTED LINEUP

"Probably the best in the league, I would say, in the last month, for sure. Just playing hard. They don't give you a lot of room. Their goaltending has been really solid," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said of the opposition. "Just a solid group that's been working hard right now."

Slavin Away

Jaccob Slavin will play in his 350th consecutive game, passing Eric Staal for the second-longest ironman streak in franchise history. Slavin's streak is also the seventh-longest active ironman streak in the NHL. The last time the Canes played a game without Slavin in the lineup was in a loss to New Jersey in December 2015.

The Last Meeting

The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes met twice within not even two weeks' time in October. The Blue Jackets claimed a 3-2 victory in Raleigh on Oct. 12 before again topping the Canes, 4-3, in overtime in Columbus on Oct. 24. In that most recent meeting, the Blue Jackets netted three unanswered goals, as the Canes settled for a point after scoring three goals in the first period.

Video: CAR Recap: Hurricanes start fast, lose in OT

The Opposition

The Blue Jackets have recorded two straight 3-0 shutouts against the Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins, with Elvis Merzlikins in net for both cleans sheets. At 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, the Blue Jackets are knocking on the door of a wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 54 points (23-16-8) in 47 games. Pierre-Luc Dubois leads the team in scoring with 34 points (15g, 19a).


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