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Preview: Hurricanes at Blue Jackets

Backup goaltender Michael Leighton may start for Carolina; Matt Calvert expected to be healthy scratch for Columbus

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

HURRICANES (21-17-7) at BLUE JACKETS (30-10-4)

(5 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

 

Hurricanes team scope

Backup goaltender Michael Leighton may start after Cam Ward made his 21st straight start for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 7-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Ward stopped 17 of 21 shots before being replaced in the second period of a 4-1 loss the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Alex Nedeljkovic finished the game in his NHL debut and made 19 saves before being sent to Charlotte of the American Hockey League. "The last two games for us as a team, we haven't been hard enough at the paint," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said after the game Friday. "We've allowed people to stay there and get seconds and thirds [chances]." Leighton is 2-1-0 with a 3.53 goals-against average for Carolina this season. He made two starts for Charlotte this week before being recalled. This will be the Hurricanes' third game this month against the Blue Jackets; Carolina won 5-3 at home on Jan. 10 and lost 4-1 at Columbus on Tuesday. The power play has one goal in the past 35 chances. "Confidence is an issue, squeezing the stick," Peters said. "We're probably going to have to change quite a few things."

 

Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-5-0 following a 16-game winning streak, are expected to make third-line forward Matt Calvert a healthy scratch and could be without defenseman David Savard against the Hurricanes. Calvert has seven points (five goals, two assists) in 38 games, including none in the past 10, with a minus-5 rating. Forward Markus Hannikainen, recalled for the seventh time this season from Cleveland of the American Hockey League, will take Calvert's spot. He has no points in nine NHL games with the Blue Jackets, including five this season. Savard is questionable with a possible back injury, and is the second defenseman who might be unavailable, along with rookie Markus Nutivaara, who likely will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury. Scott Harrington replaced him the first game and Dalton Prout the second. Harrington and Prout will make up the third defensive pair if Savard and Nutivaara are out. "Teams have gone through [injuries]," coach John Tortorella said Friday. "Now we're going to go through it." Columbus has the top power play in the NHL (24.6 percent), but is scoreless in eight tries vs. Carolina, which has the League's best penalty kill (88.5 percent). The Blue Jackets are 0 for 7 on the power play the past two games. With a game Sunday at the Ottawa Senators (5 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-O, NHL.TV), backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo may start one of the next two games.

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Derek Ryan

Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin - Matt Tennyson

Michael Leighton

Cam Ward

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck, Ryan Murphy, Ty Rattie

Injured: Eddie Lack (concussion), Bryan Bickell (illness)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Markus Hannikainen -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- Ryan Murray

Scott Harrington -- Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Matt Calvert

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed), David Savard (undisclosed)

 

Status report

Skinner, Teravainen and Rask saw limited ice time in third period against the Penguins, and Peters said lineup changes are possible. Neither the Hurricanes nor the Blue Jackets held a morning skate.

 

Who's hot

The Hurricanes' six shorthanded goals are third in the NHL. The Blue Jackets have five. … Staal has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … McGinn has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Atkinson has 22 points (13 goals, nine assists) in his past 20 games. … Jenner has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak. … Bobrovsky is 16-1-0 with 30 goals allowed in his past 17 games.

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