The Columbus Blue Jackets rebounded from an embarrassing loss with a satisfying victory last time out and hope to build off that when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday to begin a stretch during which they play five of seven on the road. The Blue Jackets were routed 7-2 by Edmonton on Tuesday before scoring the first three goals en route to a 6-4 triumph over the New York Islanders two nights later.
“I thought we handled ourselves well,” Columbus coach John Tortorella told reporters after having nothing to say following the loss to Edmonton. “That’s a good win coming off a nightmare the game before.” The Blue Jackets are battling for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division as they take on the last-place Hurricanes, who have won two straight and earned at least one point in five of their last seven games (3-2-2). Defenseman Jaccob Slavin scored 2:15 into overtime at Buffalo on Friday after Carolina coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period as Cam Ward earned his 301st career victory. “It’s a big building block coming off a long road trip,” Slavin told FSN Carolinas after the Hurricanes finished their trek with a 2-2-2 record after beginning with four straight losses.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), FSN Carolinas
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (20-11-1): Boone Jenner moved from the wing to center on Thursday to take the spot of the injured Brandon Dubinsky (facial fracture) and logged 20 minutes, 53 seconds of ice time - his highest total since Nov. 4. Artemi Panarin continues to fill the scoresheet, notching eight assists in his last four games to push his team-leading total to 28 points - seven more than Oliver Bjorkstrand, who has registered five in his last two contests. Seth Jones snapped a 17-game goal-scoring drought on Thursday while defense partner Zach Werenski tallied for the 10th time.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (13-11-7): Sebastian Aho notched a pair of assists in Friday’s victory to move within one point of team leader Teuvo Teravainen (24) while veteran Justin Williams (22) added two points. Jordan Staal recorded a goal and an assist in the win over Buffalo after managing just one point in his previous nine games while Slavin recorded his first multi-point performance since Oct. 17 at Edmonton. Scott Darling, who has lost five straight starts, is likely to be in net Saturday after Ward received the nod in each of the last two games.
1. The Blue Jackets have won two of the previous three meetings this season - both after regulation.
2. Columbus RW Cam Atkinson, who scored 35 goals last season, ended a seven-game point drought with an assist against the Islanders.
3. Carolina D Justin Faulk has gone 10 contests without a point as he remains one shy of 200 for his career.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 4, Hurricanes 1