Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes
BLUE JACKETS AT HURRICANES
MONDAY, 7 PM
BLUE JACKETS 2 | HURRICANES 0
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SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: One would expect the Hurricanes to come back with a strong second period and they did that, firing 17 shots on the Jackets' net but were unable to beat Bobrovsky. The Hurricanes had a late-period power play chance but were unable to capitalize, and at the other end, Columbus has had a handful of tantalizing near-misses that would have widened the lead. They've been solid defensively and managed the puck well, but the Blue Jackets have yet to enjoy a power play tonight. Their down-low, cycling game was especially strong in that second period...a lot of long shifts in the Carolina zone.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets came flying out of the gates and scored twice in the first 2:42 of the hockey game, and it very well could have been more than that. Derek MacKenzie opened the scoring at 2:25 after Corey Tropp stole the puck up high and Fedor Tyutin's shot hit the post, and MacKenzie was at the net mouth to jam it in. 17 seconds later, Nick Foligno made a play along the left wall to intercept a pass and sent the puck in front to Ryan Johansen, who tipped the puck between his legs back to RJ Umberger who made no mistake for a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jackets were excellent in the first 10 minutes but Carolina came on in the latter half, and shots are all square at 7-7 after 20 minutes. Bobrovsky's best work in the first period was a point-blank stop on Mike Komisarek in the final minute of the frame.
WATCH: RJ Umberger's 14th makes it 2-0 just 17 seconds later.
WATCH: Derek MacKenzie strikes early to make it 1-0 Jackets!
WATCH: Ryan Johansen chats with Bob McElligott prior to tonight's game.
WATCH: Cody Goloubef gets in the lineup tonight and he spoke with Bobby Mac pre-game.
WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards meets with the media after today's morning skate.
WATCH: Check out the top 5 #CBJ plays of the week!
UPDATE (12:30 PM): Richards said the Blue Jackets may split the goaltending duties with back-to-back games, but Sergei Bobrovsky will play tonight. Curtis McElhinney is a possibility for tomorrow's game vs. Ottawa.
UPDATE (12:25 PM): Same forward lines for the Blue Jackets tonight, per Todd Richards. Blake Comeau will not play in Raleigh but Cody Goloubef draws in and will be paired up with Nikita Nikitin.
UPDATE (11:40 AM): Sergei Bobrovsky is working in the visitor's starter's crease this morning. Looks like he'll go tonight against the Canes.
UPDATE (11:30 AM): Here's how the Jackets are lined up at this morning's skate...
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Jenner - Anisimov - Horton
Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Comeau/Tropp - MacKenzie - Letestu
Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Erixon/Goloubef
UPDATE (11:15 AM): Canes coach Kirk Muller confirmed that Anton Khudobin starts in goal tonight for Carolina.
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets hit the road for a Metro Division contest tonight in North Carolina's capital city. The Jackets are slated for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate at PNC Arena, and we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Hurricanes, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets are getting some more good health news at forward, as Blake Comeau was activated off injured reserve on Sunday and made the trip to Raleigh with the team. Columbus has a decision to make up front if Comeau's ready to play, as the forward lines have played pretty well over the last month.
David Savard, who missed Saturday's game due to illness, did not travel with the team and Tim Erixon was recalled as a result.
Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal against the Hurricanes.
This Metropolitan Division "rivalry" is only a few months old, but one way to ramp it up is by playing big games against each other on a regular basis.
Whenever the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes meet up, it seems like there's a lot riding on the game for both teams and that's exactly the case in the third meeting of the five-game season series. The Blue Jackets, who had their eight-game win streak snapped by the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night in Columbus, come into the game holding third place in the division with games in hand on the teams ahead. The Hurricanes, on a win streak of their own, are one point back of the Blue Jackets and can leap into third place with a regulation win on Monday night.
And they will have plenty of bulletin board material from the last time they played the Jackets at PNC Arena.
Alexander Semin was the recipient of a nice pass from Jordan Staal (coupled with a fortunate bounce off the linesman's skate) and scored to give Carolina a 3-2 lead midway through the third period - their first lead of the night - but the Blue Jackets put together one of their best finishes of the season.
Ryan Johansen scored on a 2-on-1 with less than four minutes left to tie it and Jack Skille eventually won the game, sending the Jackets into the Christmas break on a high note. Then, last week in Columbus, Bobrovsky posted a 36-save shutout in his second start since returning from injury to propel the Blue Jackets to another important divisional victory.
The Hurricanes don't want to drop this one, and especially so after losing the first two meetings against the Blue Jackets. The playoff race is tightening by the day and there hasn't been much separation to date, but both teams know they can give themselves a good or better chance by picking up two points on Monday night.
VS. OTTAWA SENATORS
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.