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