5:00 P.M. – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Bally Sports Ohio
ESPN+ Power Play
|ODDS & PROJECTIONS:
|ODDS OF CBJ WIN PER MONEYPUCK: 29%
PLAYOFF ODDS PER MONEYPUCK:
Blue Jackets: 7%
|TIPICO SPORTSBOOK: CBJ +255
It's times like these that we turn to legendary fictional skipper Lou Brown from the cinematic classic series Major League:
"We won a game (Wednesday), if we win one (Friday; they did) that's two in a row," he says, sort of.
"If we win one (Sunday) that's called a winning streak."
The Columbus Blue Jackets have won consecutive games for just the second time this season, and when they face the Carolina Hurricanes late Sunday afternoon, have the chance for their first three-game winning streak since March of 2022.
The first win snapped a nine-game losing streak and came against the Chicago Blackhawks, one of only two teams with fewer points than the Blue Jackets in the standings at the time of the game. A seven-goal outburst was unexpected, but Columbus was favored.
Defeating the New Jersey Devils on Black Friday, though, was a different story. Despite a disappointing start to the season, the Devils are still on the short list of contenders in the Eastern Conference. It was the kind of win that gives a team a major confidence boost.
As the Blue Jackets seek to break a streak of seven straight losses when going for a third straight win, here's what to keep an eye on when the puck drops from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina at 5:00p.m.:
|CANES LAST THREE GAMES
|CANES TEAM LEADERS
TALKING POINTS: CAR
Somewhat similar to the New Jersey Devils, the Hurricanes find themselves below where they'd like to be in the Metro Division standings. They come in 11-8-0 and with 22 points, but that's (just barely) outside of the playoff picture as of Sunday morning. Their 8-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday afternoon was an eye-opener: in just their 19th game of the season, it was already Carolina's 5th loss by three or more goals this season. They had ten last year in 82 games, and Columbus has only three in 21 games. Yikes.
The losses would be more concerning if not for a couple of metrics that flex a couple of major Carolina strengths: the Canes give up a league-lowest 25.2 shots per game, and have a league-best 5-on-5 Corsi percentage. In other words, they still have a knack for driving play and limiting their opponents' opportunities.
- Watch out for the line of Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho, and Seth Jarvis. The trio has played 66 minutes together this season in 5-on-5 play and have outscored the opposition 5-0. Teravainen leads the team in goals (10), and Aho leads the team in points (16) and is tied with Brady Skjei for the team lead in assists (11).
TALKING POINTS: CBJ
Elvis Merzlikins was outstanding in the victory over New Jersey. He stopped 37 of 38 New Jersey shots and was the well-deserved 1st Star of the game. After two putrid seasons, Merzlikins has become a guy that the Blue Jackets have leaned in recent games and haven't been bitten in return. He's 33rd out of 60 in goals against average of goalies with at least four games this season, and 29th in save percentage. That's right in the middle of the pack, but that's substantial progress for Elvis and it would likely be even better if the defense wasn't turning the puck over at the worst possible time on an almost nightly basis.
Shot quality is going to be important against a team like the Devils — remember, they give up fewer shots than anyone else in the NHL — and that has been a weakness for the Blue Jackets this season. They rank 22nd and 25th in high danger and medium shots for, respectively, but are 4th in the league in the low danger category. In other words, the shot quantity is there (18th in shots on goal per game), but the quality is not (29th in shooting percentage on all shot attempts).
- Patrik Laine didn't show up in the box score Friday, but he looks so much more comfortable back on the wing and it's benefitting the entire team. It seems like the experiment at center may be history at this point, but the experiment of putting him on a line centered by Adam Fantilli? That's an experiment that could simply turn into "the way."
Updated: 7:05 a.m. // Subject to Change
Lines are based on most recent practice/game, as well as injury updates and news.