Preview: Carolina at Columbus
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Defenseman Seth Jones makes his home debut for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in the back end of a home-and-home series. Jones, who was acquired from Nashville in the blockbuster trade for center Ryan Johansen on Wednesday, logged 22:12 of ice time and was a minus-2 with one shot on in Columbus’ 4-1 loss at Carolina on Friday.
“I don’t want to put any expectations on him,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “You can see his skill level, and he was very well-coached with some good players around him in Nashville. I’m not going to go too far into critiquing him. I just want to see him play.” The Hurricanes got 35 saves from Cam Ward as they earned a point for the sixth time in eight games (4-2-2). Elias Lindholm recorded his first multi-goal performance of the season with a pair against Columbus while second-leading scorer Victor Rask sat out due to an upper-body injury. Jordan Staal scored the Hurricanes’ first power-play goal in nine games to open the scoring Friday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Carolinas, FSN Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (17-18-7): Rask (26 points), who trails only defenseman Justin Faulk (30) on the team in scoring, took the pregame skate but was scratched Friday. Faulk was kept off the scoresheet despite registering six shots, but Kris Versteeg chipped in with a pair of assists while captain Eric Staal and leading goal scorer Jeff Skinner (15) each notched one. Rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin recorded an assist for the second straight game and posted a plus-2 rating Friday.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (15-24-3): Captain Nick Foligno extended his point streak to eight games with an assist Friday before taking a blindside hit from Brad Malone early in the third period and leaving the game. Foligno, tied for third on the team with 25 points, is likely to miss Saturday’s contest after posting two goals and eight assists during his streak. Scott Hartnell (30 points) and All-Star Brandon Saad (29) were held without a point Friday while Brandon Dubinsky scored a goal for his fifth point in four games.
1. The Hurricanes are 6-0-2 in their last eight meetings with the Blue Jackets and have won three in a row in Columbus.
2. Columbus G Anton Forsberg made his second straight start Friday, which could mean Joonas Korpisalo will get the nod on Saturday.
3. Carolina’s Jordan Staal has produced back-to-back multi-point efforts for the first time this season.
PREDICTION: Columbus 4, Hurricanes 2