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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (15-17-4) at Carolina Hurricanes (14-14-8), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Carolina Hurricanes will shoot for their second win in seven games when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in Monday's clash at PNC Arena.

The Hurricanes lost games on back-to-back days over the weekend, dropping the club to 1-2-3 over its last six games. Carolina lost a 4-2 decision Friday against visiting Washington before falling in overtime the following night in Tampa.

Carolina carried a 2-1 lead into the third period of Saturday's road game against the Lightning, but Martin St. Louis evened the game with a power-play goal with 12:04 left in regulation and Radko Gudas scored 2:16 into overtime to lift Tampa to the 3-2 decision.

Gudas potted his second goal of the year after skating into the Carolina end and unleashing a rising shot that beat Justin Peters high to the glove side from the right circle. Right before the goal, Gudas muscled Carolina's Jeff Skinner into the boards, but no penalty was called. Nate Thompson then delivered the outlet pass that had Gudas break into the offensive zone unchallenged.

Peter was a tough-luck loser, turning aside 47-of-50 shots in the setback.

"They were throwing a lot of rubber to the net," Peters said. "We battled hard, but unfortunately we weren't able to get the two points."

Jiri Tlusty scored both goals for the Hurricanes, who have identical 7-7-4 marks at home and on the road this season. Beginning with tonight's tilt, Carolina is playing two straight and three of its next four on home ice.

Columbus will try for a second straight win on Monday after halting a three- game slide on Saturday by salvaging the finale of a home-and-home series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

After getting dealt a tough 5-4 loss Thursday in Philadelphia, the Blue Jackets responded with a 6-3 victory over the Flyers at Nationwide Arena. David Savard, Boone Jenner, Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger picked up third- period goals to help Columbus claim Saturday's victory.

Corey Tropp and Nikita Nikitin each recorded a pair of assists for the Blue Jackets, who responded well after wasting a three-goal lead and surrendering five goals in the final period in Thursday's loss against the Flyers.

Curtis McElhinney was strong in the crease with 33 saves on Saturday. He allowed five goals on 39 shots in the road portion of the home-and-home.

"It was a gutsy win for a lot of reasons," Columbus head coach Todd Richards remarked. "Curtis played very well. He responded, as well."

It wasn't all good news for the Blue Jackets on Saturday, however, as winger Marian Gaborik suffered a broken collarbone in his return from a 17-game absence due to a sprained knee. Gaborik, who has five goals and seven assists in 18 games this season, will be sidelined indefinitely.

The Blue Jackets are playing six of their next seven on the road, where they are 6-9-2 this season.

Columbus has dominated the Hurricanes in recent years, winning five straight since its last loss in the series on Dec. 15, 2005 at Carolina. The Blue Jackets have won two straight in Raleigh since that defeat.

12/23 10:54:40 ET

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