Game Preview: Blue Jackets In Search of a Bounce-Back Effort Against the Hurricanes In Raleigh

By Rob Mixer on February 15, 2021 at 7:05 am
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei (76) checks Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner (38) during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty – USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Hurricanes
9-3-0 (18 points)

7:00 P.M. – MONDAY, FEB. 15


One benefit of this condensed, COVID-affected NHL season is that teams are required to have short memories.

There's not long to dwell on anything, and the Blue Jackets have an opportunity to get back on the horse tonight at PNC Arena in Raleigh. The task is no easy one, either; the Carolina Hurricanes have quickly asserted themselves (as expected) as one of the top teams in the Central Division, winning nine of their first 12 games this season.

Recent history, while it matters less in this wild season, does favor the Blue Jackets; Columbus has won five of the last six meetings and is 10-5-1 against the Hurricanes dating back to Jan. 17, 2017. Which feels like a lifetime ago.

These two teams are no stranger to close games. The Blue Jackets, especially, have shown a willingness to make things interesting so far in 2020-21, playing five overtime and shootout games.

They're coming off a tight two-game series in Chicago, winning a wild one Thursday and dropping an overtime decision on Saturday at United Center. Fun fact: the last five games between Columbus and Carolina have been decided by one goal.

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

29 Patrik Laine 96 Jack Roslovic 13  Cam Atkinson
16 Max Domi 11 Kevin Stenlund 28  Oliver Bjorkstrand
71 Nick Foligno 20 Riley Nash 50 Eric Robinson
38  Boone Jenner 42 Mikko Koivu 23  Stefan Matteau
46 Dean Kukan 3 Seth Jones
15 Michael Del Zotto 58 David Savard
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 2 Andrew Peeke
Goalie Backup
70 Joonas Korpisalo 90 Elvis Merzlikins


  • LET THE STARS SHINE: The Blue Jackets waited forever to get their top players rolling, but their patience has paid off. They have Jack Roslovic to thank in part, as his addition to the lineup has sent a jolt through it and provided some playmaking bravado at center ice. Cam Atkinson has shaken off a slow start to tally seven points in his last three games, while Patrik Laine has four goals and an assist in his five games with Columbus. Roslovic is the hot hand; the Columbus kid has 4-5-9 in his lat seven games.
  • MAKING THE MOST: Kevin Stenlund waited his turn, and with Mikko Koivu's retirement last week, he finally got it. John Tortorella put him in an offensive role, and Stenlund delivered the game-winner late in regulation Thursday to cap a 6-5 win. He's got five points in five games, and the only time he hasn't registered at least a point this season was in Saturday's loss to the Blackhawks. 
  • WHOSE NET? With Elvis Merzlikins activated off injured reserve last week, Tortorella went back to Joonas Korpisalo Saturday. While the head coach said he's ready to get back to their rotation, he did say the Blue Jackets may have to make a decision in the near future as to who gets the bulk of the workload. It wouldn't be a surprise if Merzlikins starts tonight against the Hurricanes.

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