BLUE JACKETS (4-8-0) at HURRICANES (3-6-2)
TV: FS-CR, FS-O
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:
Brian Gibbons - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg – Jack Skille
Corey Tropp - Michael Chaput – Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin - David Savard
Tim Erixon - James Wisniewski
Frederic St. Denis - Dalton Prout
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).
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal – Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Jay McClement – Patrick Dwyer
Chris Terry - Victor Rask - Zach Boychuk
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Jay Harrison
Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore
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.