Columbus, OH -- Following a two-day layoff, the Columbus Blue Jackets (13-13-7, 33pts) and the Carolina Hurricanes (21-7-3, 45pts) faceoff in their fourth meeting in seven days on Thursday night.
Carolina got the better of Columbus on Monday night, winning 3-0 behind a shutout effort from Alex Nedeljkovic.
After playing three-straight games, Columbus and Carolina have each secured four of a possible six points in the standings.
The Hurricanes sit five points behind Central Division leaders Tampa Bay; Columbus trails Chicago by two points for the final playoff spot.
One player that is once again making a push for league honors is Dougie Hamilton.
The 27-year-old Canadian is riding a 12-game point streak--the longest active point streak in the NHL.
It's also the new franchise record for a defenceman in Hurricanes/Whalers history.
If Hamilton extends the streak to 13 games, he will tie Auston Matthews for the NHL's longest point streak this season. In addition, Hamilton currently has 99 career goals, so a goal tonight would crack the century mark for the Canes' defenceman.
The Canes will also lean on Martin Necas, who has put together a solid month of March. The Czech has 11 points in 11 games this month (4g, 7a). Expect his minutes to remain high as he fills in for Teuvo Teravainen on both the top powerplay unit and kills penalties.
A couple of the Canes' top-scorers will be looking to break out of slumps:
Jordan Staal has gone six-straight games without a goal; Brock McGinn hasn't scored in five games; Nino Niederreiter has gone three games.
Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck, Petr Mrazek, and Jake Gardiner are all expected to miss Thursday's game as they continue their recoveries from recent injuries.
James Reimer (12-4-1, .909 SV%, 2.68 GAA) will get the start for the Canes in net. Reimer will be looking for his first win since March 11th.
The Canes' expected lines:
Andrei Svechnikov — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Nino Niederreiter — Sebastian Aho — Martin Necas
Brock McGinn — Jordan Martinook — Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette — Morgan Geekie — Steven Lorentz
Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury — Jake Bean
Injuries: Petr Mrazek (hand surgery), Teuvo Teravainen (concussion), Vincent Trocheck (upper body), Jake Gardiner (back)
Columbus Looks To Snap Back From Shutout
The Blue Jackets are looking to bounce back from Monday's shutout by bringing back the physical play they displayed in Raleigh.
"I think our energy wasn't there; I think our [start] wasn't good enough...They were winning more pucks than we were, and they had the puck most of the night, so I think we need to get back to being physical," Columbus defenceman David Savard said.
Savard's head coach, John Tortorella, noted other factors that contributed to the loss.
"[The loss on Monday was due to] a combination of things. Effort, the ability to make plays, the ability to see the plays, a number of things [weren't there]."
"We [need to] be ready to go from the start of the game. We [need to] establish our game; we could be better with our energy and our compete level," Boone Jenner said.
Joonas Korpisalo (8-10-5, .900 SV%, 2.98 GAA) will be in net for Columbus.
Columbus' expected lines:
Max Domi — Jack Roslovic — Cam Atkinson
Oliver Bjorkstrand — Kevin Stenlund — Patrik Laine
Boone Jenner — Riley Nash — Nick Foligno
Eric Robinson — Ryan Macinnis — Stefan Matteau
Zach Werenski — Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov — David Savard
Dean Kukan — Michael Del Zotto
Injuries: Gustav Nyquist (IR Shoulder), Emil Bemstrom (IR lower body)