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Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the Blue Jackets' seventh preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Jackets will wrap up their exhibition schedule at Nationwide Arena. After bringing a young roster with a few call-ups for the trip to Buffalo, the Blue Jackets plan to have a more veteran-heavy roster to take on the 'Canes.
The Hurricanes will be missing a few key players due to injury (Alexander Semin, Elias Lindholm, Tim Gleason, Tuomo Ruutu), allowing some of the younger guys and new faces to prove that they belong in Carolina on opening night. With two preseason games to play, players like Brett Sutter, Drayson Bowman, Riley Nash and Brett Bellemore have to prove that they can keep up with the NHL regulars instead of being sent back down to the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
The Blue Jackets will head into their second game in a back-to-back series after returning from Buffalo, which will also be their final chance to get things set before the regular season. The Hurricanes, after a few much-needed days off, will play their first exhibition game since their win on Saturday in Montreal.
Both the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets are dealing with a slew of injuries as they try to tune-up their final rosters and head into the home stretch before opening night--a factor that may come into play during this meeting. Blue Jackets call-ups get a second chance to prove they can make the roster or that they deserve another call-up once the season starts, while the Hurricanes are still trying to figure out who belongs where in the line-up.
The two teams are both in very different places in the preseason. The Blue Jackets are about to play their final of eight games. The Hurricanes are just getting into the thick of exhibition play with their fifth game of the preseason. Tomorrow night is the last chance for the Blue Jackets players to prove themselves before final cuts are made, as they'll look to trim the roster from 33 players down to 23 for opening night. Both teams are also looking to end the preseason on a positive note to build momentum going into the regular season (the Hurricanes are 1-3 in preseason play and the Blue Jackets are 4-2), so there will be a lot for each team and players to play for during this game.
VS. CALGARY FLAMES
FRIDAY, OCT. 4, 7 P.M.