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Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Hurricanes

Carolina and Columbus close out eight-game season series

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

With six games left to play in the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes aim to move closer to locking up the first seed in the Central Division and possibly even the league when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Match-Up

Columbus Blue Jackets (16-25-10, 42 points) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (33-10-7, 73 points)

Saturday, May 1, 7 p.m.

Watch: Bally Sports South, Bally Sports app

Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan,, Hurricanes app


Numbers to Know

6: Sebastian Aho recorded two assists on Thursday against Detroit and now has points in six straight games (3g, 8a).

4: In addition to his six-game point streak, Aho also owns a four-game assist streak (7a).

10-2-4: The Canes earned points in 14 of their 16 games in April to finish the month with a 10-2-4 record and 24 points.

The Opposition

Last five games: 1-3-1, 3 points
On the road: 7-17-3, 17 points
CAR vs. CBJ: 4-1-2
Leading scorer: Oliver Bjorkstrand, 38 points (15g, 23a) in 51 games

The Blue Jackets have been idle since Tuesday, when they snapped a nine-game winless skid with a 1-0 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Elvis Merzlikins posted a 41-save shutout, while Patrik Laine and Oliver Bjorkstrand netted goals in the shootout. The Blue Jackets, who sank to the bottom of the Central Division standings with a 1-7-2 record in their last 10 games, have five games remaining in the regular season, and tonight's game in Raleigh marks their road finale.

The Last Meeting

The Canes and Blue Jackets squared off four times in a row in the latter half of March. The Canes earned points in each of the four games (2-0-2), a mini-series that was capped with a 4-3 overtime win in Columbus. Martin Necas netted a dazzling wrap-around goal in regulation, and then he dished off to Sebastian Aho for the game-winner in overtime.

Video: Aho send Hurricanes past Blue Jackets in OT, 4-3

"It was two good teams playing the right way. Not a lot of room," Aho said. "Definitely were griding games, every single one of them. We expect to win every single one of them, but these last two were big ones."

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