Blue Jackets put home streak on line vs. Hurricanes
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Carolina Hurricanes, the last visiting team to win at Nationwide Arena, return for the second time this month to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Since the Hurricanes' 3-1 victory on Nov. 10, the Blue Jackets have won four straight on home ice. Columbus had won six in a row overall before falling 3-1 to the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday night.
The Hurricanes will be the more rested team Tuesday after beating the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. They traveled to Columbus on Monday while the Blue Jackets (15-8-1) were in Montreal for the first game of a back-to-back set.
The shootout win over the formidable Predators was much needed for the Hurricanes (10-8-4), who ended a two-game losing streak before heading out to play 10 of their next 12 games on the road.
The Hurricanes reside in seventh place in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division standings, but they have played fewer games than each of the teams ahead of them.
"Every game is big, but you don't want to slide too far and get in too big of a hole," Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. "It was nice to get on the right side of it."
The Hurricanes were just 1-4 in overtime games before the shootout win that halted the Predators' four-game winning streak. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen came through with goals in the shootout, and Carolina goaltender Scott Darling was strong in the net.
"That was a big game, really big, especially finishing up our homestand here and going on the road," Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said. "We know where that (playoff) line is, and we know we're beneath it. It's time to go punch in and get some points."
Williams scored a power-play goal against the Predators that gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. Victor Rask also had a goal for Carolina in his second game since returning to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games.
"We need that out of him," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said of Rask. "We need that each and every night. He's a big part of what we do, and we need it."
Carolina is having more success than Columbus with the man advantage, scoring four power-play goals in the past four games, but the Hurricanes still rank 27th of 31 teams in the league.
The Blue Jackets have struggled all season with generating goals on their power play. They are dead last in the NHL in power-play percentage at 9.6 percent after going 0 of 5 on Monday night. In the past 15 games, they are 3 of 43 (6.9 percent).
"I am tired of dissecting our power play," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said after the loss. "We had 10 chances on the power play. (The) problem was we didn't finish. We developed a lot of scoring chances on it."
But when a team has a goaltender such as Sergei Bobrovsky playing at a high level, it offsets some of the deficiencies.
Bobrovsky took a rare loss on Monday, and he may get a night off Tuesday. Backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo could be in line to get the start against the Hurricanes.
Korpisalo hasn't started a game for Columbus since Nov. 7 against Nashville. He was sent down to Cleveland of the American Hockey League for a tune-up start on Saturday in the Monsters' 3-2 loss before he was recalled Sunday along with forward Markus Hannikainen, who also played against Texas to get some game action.
In four games for the Blue Jackets this season, Korpisalo has a 1-3-0 record with a 3.28 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage.
"If I don't play here, at least there's a place where I can play," Korpisalo said of playing for Cleveland. "Otherwise, I would be sitting here for three weeks in a row, just practicing, and that's tough. I'm glad I can do it."
Updated November 28, 2017