NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 12th
(All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (31-27-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (31-27-10), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes missed a chance last night to grab
a share of a playoff spot. They'll try to avoid losing four straight for the
first time this season as they host the fading Columbus Blue Jackets tonight
at RBC Center.
Carolina fell to 0-2-1 in its last three games with last night's 2-1 setback
in Washington. With 72 points, the Hurricanes remained two back of the Rangers
and Sabres for the final two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. Both
Buffalo and New York are also in action today.
Tuomo Ruutu scored the 'Canes lone goal last night in the second period and
Cam Ward made 24 saves. Carolina outshot Washington, 41-26, but yielded a pair
of third-period tallies.
"When you don't score you don't win, no matter how many shots you have," said
Ruutu. "I thought we had a bunch of chances; we didn't play a bad game, we
just couldn't finish."
Carolina will play four of its next five at home and is a solid 18-10-4 as the
host this year. The Hurricanes have won four of their last six at home versus
the Blue Jackets, but did drop a 5-1 decision when they last hosted the club
on Feb. 14, 2009.
That victory is part of Columbus' three-game series winning streak, extended
last season with a 3-2 home win. The Blue Jackets haven't lost to the
Hurricanes since Dec. 15, 2005.
They desperately need to extend that win streak tonight as they have lost a
season-worst seven in a row (0-4-3) to fall 10 points out of a playoff spot.
Columbus is on its longest skid since an 0-7-2 span from Dec. 10-26 of last
The Blue Jackets were also in action last night and were dealt a 4-2 setback
by the Kings, who got a hat trick from forward Anze Kopitar. Scottie Upshall
and Derick Brassard had the goals for Columbus, while Steve Mason made just 18
"It's been seven games that we have come up short with [losing] four or five
games by one goal," Brassard said. "We did a good push at the end, we took a
lot of penalties in the second and it broke the flow of the game and it's
pretty hard to kill penalties in the game and we show up with emotion in the
third and we came up short again."
Columbus' current skid includes five straight setbacks on the road.
The Blue Jackets could go with netminder Mathieu Garon tonight and he is 1-2-0
with a 3.14 goals-against average versus the Hurricanes.
Ward is likely to get the call again for Carolina and is winless in three
career starts versus Columbus, going 0-2-0 with a 3.91 GAA.
03/12 10:36:23 ET