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Preview: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes

Carolina continues playoff push; Columbus resumes hunt for Presidents' Trophy

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (49-19-7) at HURRICANES (34-27-14)

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


Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets are five points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division and in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. They are 10-3-1 in March, allowing two goals or fewer in six of their past seven games. Despite the strong month, coach John Tortorella is concerned about the offense; forward Brandon Saad is the only player with more than one goal in the past four games. "The results are important obviously, but I want to judge our team on how they're playing," Tortorella said after practice Wednesday. "That's the most important thing as we head to the playoffs." Tortorella is expecting a tough test from the Carolina Hurricanes. "It's a team that I think is playing with no pressure on them at all," he said. "Everybody left them for dead out there and they just kept on playing. That type of attitude makes it easy for players to play. They've been a good team. They are well-coached and they are fast. We've got our hands full when we go in there [Thursday] night." 


Hurricanes team scope

The Hurricanes are four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and have surged back into playoff contention by going 8-0-4 in their past 12 games, tying their record point streak set in 2005-06. "We're in it," forward Jordan Staal said. "I don't know if you can put a gauge on it. When you're in it, it's taking that mentality, chipping away and seeing what happens." The Hurricanes, who were once 11 points out of the second wild card, struggled for goals through much of the season but have averaged 3.6 goals per game during the streak. "We're right where we need to be," said coach Bill Peters, who is looking for his 100th NHL win. "We've gotten ourselves to this point, now we have to find a way to continue to play well. Guys are excited about the opportunity."


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Kyle Quincey 

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Lauri Korpikoski, Markus Nutivaara

Injured: Ryan Murray (hand), Oliver Bjorkstrand (undisclosed)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Victor Rask -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn -- Lucas Wallmark -- Philip Di Giuseppe

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin -- Justin Faulk

Klas Dahlbeck -- Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Alex Nedeljkovic

Scratched: None

Injured: Jay McClement (lower body), Ryan Murphy (lower body), Eddie Lack (neck strain)


Status report

The Blue Jackets did not hold a morning skate. … Lack is feeling better and hoping to skate either Saturday or Sunday. "That's him being optimistic and wanting to get back in," Peters said.


Who's hot

Bobrovsky is 10-0-2 and has allowed 13 goals in his past 12 starts (.968 save percentage). ... Skinner has 15 points (11 goals, four assists) in his past 14 games. ... Lindholm has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games ... Stempniak has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Aho has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past eight games.

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