Blue Jackets head to Carolina after big win

November 17, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown they have plenty in reserve.

How much they'll need against the Carolina Hurricanes will be one of the questions for Saturday night's game at PNC Arena.

The Blue Jackets excelled with a somewhat makeshift lineup in its latest game when illness spread to some team members.

"There's opportunities for different guys," left winger Anthony Duclair said of the lineup alterations. "Everybody did a great job and all four lines were rolling."

That came in Thursday night's 7-3 home victory against the Florida Panthers.

The result means the Blue Jackets arrive with a six-game points streak for this matchup between Metropolitan Division teams.

While Columbus is riding a bit of a high, at least on the ice, the Hurricanes are trying to get things turned around.

They have been off since Monday's overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks, providing only their second victory in an eight-game stretch.

"We haven't (won) a lot lately," said Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, who scored the winner in the latest outing. "We have to find a way to get wins."

Aho had gone 12 games without a goal even though he leads the Hurricanes with 22 points.

"I know when I'm playing good," Aho said. "You get a few goals, you get some confidence."

How much of the firepower is available for the Blue Jackets might not be determined until closer to game time. The status of forwards Riley Nash and Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is notable because they missed Thursday night's game because of illness.

Even Columbus coach John Tortorella was under the weather, skipping his normal postgame media session on a night when there would have been plenty of positives to discuss.

Despite all the offense getting attention, Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo provided some of the spark.

"The only job is to get the puck out of the net," said Korpisalo, who made 35 saves. "I just have to make saves. I'm happy when we score seven."

For the division-leading Blue Jackets on a night when they weren't a full strength, they could point to Korpisalo as providing some of the energy with his stops.

"He got the bench going," Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky said.

The Hurricanes hope to see success on special teams extend into the next game. They've been largely miserable on power plays, but they scored their two regulation goals in the Chicago game with the extra man.

Coach Rod Brind'Amour said this ought to be one way for the Hurricanes to realize the value of the production on special teams because it led directly to a positive result.

The Hurricanes can also point to goaltending as an area that needs to come around. Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling has played in the past two games and might be rounding into form after missing the first couple of weeks of the season with an injury.

"We need saves at times when we breakdown," Brind'Amour said. "Keep the team in the game when we need it."

Columbus won 3-1 in an Oct. 5 home game against Carolina.

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