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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson will sit out the first game of a three-game suspension Friday. Johnson was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty in a 4-2 win by the Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Columbus.

Tlusty did not return to the game after the third-period hit, but he is expected to play Friday after completing the concussion protocol.

"I anticipate him playing," said Carolina coach Bill Peters, whose team has won three in a row. "He says he's felt good, so I think he will be in. He's passed all his tests and he will play normal minutes."

Tlusty leads Carolina with six goals through 11 games.

Johnson's spot in the lineup will be taken by James Wisniewski, who returns to the lineup after missing three games with a broken finger.

"Taking Jack out of the lineup, you're concerned about the hole there," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "Adding (Wisniewski), he's a playmaker and passer. He will hopefully help our power play. It's nice to put an experienced player back in our lineup."

Neither team has played since the Tuesday game, allowing a little breathing room in the back-to-back set. But after a physical game earlier in the week, Columbus is expecting a similar style of play.

"You always want to make it a physical game because you are investing in the next game as well and trying to wear them down," forward Ryan Johansen said. "I expect the same thing tonight, a really physical game. (We need to) get pucks by their defensemen and make them work down low."

Richards was not happy with the Blue Jackets performance on Tuesday. He wants to see more commitment from his players in Raleigh.

"We have to defend first," Richards said. "We've got to check. Those guys on Tuesday were faster than us, they were more desperate. If we elevate those two things we will be better as a team."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUE JACKETS

Brian Gibbons - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert - Alexander WennbergJack Skille

Corey Tropp - Michael ChaputJared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - David Savard

Tim Erixon - James Wisniewski

Frederic St. Denis - Dalton Prout

Curtis McElhinney

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Marko Dano

Suspended: Jack Johnson

Injured: Ryan Murray (knee), Artem Anisimov (concussion), Nathan Horton (back), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Mark Letestu (groin), Sergei Bobrovsky (fractured finger), Cody Goloubef (knee).

HURRICANES

Jiri Tlusty - Eric StaalAlexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Jay McClementPatrick Dwyer

Chris Terry - Victor Rask - Zach Boychuk

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Jay Harrison

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratches: Tim Gleason, Brad Malone

Injured: Jordan Staal (broken leg)

Status report: After sitting out Hurricanes practice on Thursday, Gleason will not play. Liles, a healthy scratch the past three games, will replace Gleason.

Who's hot: Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm has three goals and four points in his past three games. … Forward Riley Nash has points in each of the past three games. … Goaltender Cam Ward has won all three games during Carolina's current winning streak. … Columbus forward Ryan Johansen has points in 11 of the Blue Jackets' 12 games. … Nick Foligno's five multipoint games matches his total from 2013-14.

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