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Hurricanes at Blue Jackets preview

Pesce back in Carolina lineup; Columbus looks to improve NHL's worst power play

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

HURRICANES (5-5-3) at BLUE JACKETS (9-6-1)

7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-CR, NHL.TV


The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets try to end a season-high three-game losing streak (0-2-1) against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

A big reason for the Blue Jackets' slump is the NHL's worst power play (10.4 percent), which went 0-for-4 in a 3-1 loss against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Carolina seeks a second straight win following a four-game (0-2-2) losing streak. Defenseman Brett Pesce returns after missing three games with a concussion.


Players to watch

Forward Justin Williams, 36, was brought back to the Hurricanes to give them a veteran presence, and he has not disappointed. He leads Carolina with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 13 games and has three multi-point efforts this season.

Blue Jackets forward Alexander Wennberg has struggled this season and saw his ice time reduced to 17:05 vs. Nashville (he is averaging 18:46), in part because he was taken off the power play. He has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 16 games.


They said it

"I'm sure the first couple of shifts I'm going to keep it extra simple and get my feet wet again. Even though it was three games, a week feels like a month in terms of coming back." -- Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce

"I think we're close. I like the two defensemen together on that first power play. They have a great feel for each other 5-on-5. We have to get a little luck and keep our concentration." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on playing defensemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski on the first power-play unit

Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Brock McGinn -- Victor Rask -- Justin Williams

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Marcus Kruger -- Josh Jooris

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Haydn Fleury -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Cam Ward

Scott Darling

Scratched: Patrick Brown, Klas Dahlbeck

Injured: None


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Nick Foligno -- Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Artemi Panarin -- Alexander Wennberg -- Cam Atkinson

Sonny Milano -- Tyler Motte -- Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Gabriel Carlsson, Zac Dalpe

Injured: Matt Calvert (upper body), Lukas Sedlak (ankle)


Status report

The Hurricanes assigned forward Lee Stempniak (back) to Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Thursday for conditioning. … Darling will start Saturday against his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks. … Tortorella may opt, as he did against Nashville, to go with seven defensemen. If so, Carlsson would replace Hannikainen.


Stat pack

Carolina's power play is tied for 27th in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, (13.3 percent) and was 0-for-5 against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. … Bobrovsky is 0-1-1 with eight goals allowed in his past two starts after going 4-0-0 with eight goals allowed in his previous four starts. … Bjorkstrand has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past four games.

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