HURRICANES (31-28-14) AT BLUE JACKETS (30-35-8)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-O, NHL.TV
COLUMBUS -- Defenseman Justin Faulk returns to the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury.
Faulk has 15 goals and 34 points in 55 games. He's played once since Feb. 7 and his absence has been felt with the Hurricanes fading from the Stanley Cup Playoffs race. Carolina has points in seven of its past nine games, but is 0-2-3 in five, and trails the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers by seven points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Carolina has nine games remaining.
"It's a bunch of young guys who are still learning how to finish and finish a season," Faulk said. "We're still fighting. We're still trying to win every game.
"It's a good, close group and they like seeing each other every day. They're not sick of each other. They're willing to put in the work and that's good."
Faulk is encouraged by the Hurricanes' 3-2-4 record since the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 29. Six of their past eight games have gone to overtime.
"It's easy after the trade deadline to mail it in a bit, stray from the system and play a little looser but guys have been committed to the system and playing hard," Faulk said. "That's what you want, especially from a group of young guys."
Carolina coach Bill Peters did not indicate who would come out of the lineup with Faulk back but said he might go with seven defensemen.
Goalie Eddie Lack will start for the Hurricanes.
Columbus forward Nick Foligno will return after missing the Flyers game because of an illness. He watched from home when the Blue Jackets scored twice in the final 1:04 to tie the score 2-2 and win in a shootout.
"It was awesome," he said. "It made me feel better."
It was an uplifting result in a trying season. The Blue Jackets could be eliminated from postseason contention Thursday with a loss and points by Detroit and Philadelphia.
"That's a great game for the morale around here," Foligno said. "We're playing for pride. That's a big win especially when you're doing lot of good things in the game; outshooting them, outplaying them. We weren't getting the bounces until late."
Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll was suspended four games by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for interference on Philadelphia Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Tuesday.
Here are the projected lineups:
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Chris Terry - Riley Nash - Nathan Gerbe
Jay McClement - Brody Sutter - Brad Malone
Justin Faulk - Jaccob Slavin
Noah Hanifin - Ron Hainsey
Michal Jordan - Brett Pesce
Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Andrej Nestrasil (back)
Scratched: Ryan Murphy
Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Brandon Saad - Boone Jenner - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Gregory Campbell - Michael Chaput - William Karlsson
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
David Savard - Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin - Cody Goloubef
Scratched: Rene Bourque
Injured: Jack Johnson (shoulder), David Clarkson (back), Curtis McElhinney (knee)
Suspended: Jared Boll
Status report: The Hurricanes recalled center Brody Sutter from Charlotte of the American Hockey League. He has played seven games for Carolina the past two seasons, all on the road.
Who's hot: Terry has two goals and an assist in three games. Di Giuseppe has three goals in five games. … Bobrovsky's next win will be his 97th for the Blue Jackets to surpass Steve Mason as Columbus' all-time leader.