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Blue Jackets host rare meeting with Hurricanes

by John Kreiser /

HURRICANES (2-10-3) at BLUE JACKETS (8-5-2)

Last 10 -- Hurricanes 0-7-3; Blue Jackets 4-4-2

Season series --
The teams are meeting for the only time this season and just the 11th time since Columbus entered the NHL in 2000. Carolina has won six of the previous 10 games, but the Blue Jackets have won the last two, including a 5-1 victory on Feb. 14, 2009.

Big story --
The Hurricanes are off to the worst start in franchise history, but Friday night's 3-2 home loss to Toronto was especially painful. The 'Canes led 2-0 after one period against a team that had just one victory in 13 games, and they couldn't hold on. They haven't won in their last 11 games.

The Blue Jackets won their last game, 4-3 at Atlanta on Thursday night -- only their third win in nine games -- to move into first place in the Central Division. Raffi Torres had two second-period goals and Mathieu Garon survived a hectic last 40 minutes as the Thrashers pressured the Jackets but could never get the equalizer.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes --
Just about anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for the Hurricanes, who haven't won since Oct. 8. They're on an 0-for-25 slide on the power play, are last in the Eastern Conference in scoring and have been outscored 22-9 in the second period.

Not even a rare two-goal lead -- only their third this season -- helped against the Leafs.

"Our effort has been better, and we’ve got more offensive confidence, we’re just not finishing," coach Paul Maurice said. "That’s the painful part. In our last two games we’ve generated more even though we haven't had a healthy lineup. Their goalie played well, made some big saves for them."

Blue Jackets --
His team may have won at Atlanta, but Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock would prefer not to have to go through a game in which his team is outshot 35-21 and has to kill eight opposition power plays.

"Killing penalties takes a lot of energy, but we found a way to get the points," Hitchcock said after the win. "We played well in the first period, then last night's game caught up with us and we ended up in the penalty box."

Who's hot --
Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres has a pair of two-goal games this week -- he had only one all last season -- and now has 8 goals. … Carolina rookie Brandon Sutter has three goals in six games since being called up.

Injury report --
Columbus forward Derek Dorsett left Thursday's game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. Another forward, Kristian Huselius, went on the injured list this week with an upper-body injury. … Carolina's No. 1 center, Eric Staal, will miss at least two more weeks with an upper-body injury. Center Ray Whitney also sat out Friday's game with an upper-body injury.

Stat pack --
The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets have never played a game that has gone beyond 60 minutes, and only one of their 10 meetings has seen more than a combined total of seven goals scored (Carolina won 6-5 on March 10, 2003).

Puck drop --
"We have to look at the positives because we’re playing in 24 hours," Sutter said of the trip to Columbus. "We have another chance to get a win."

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