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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 29th (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (37-30-6) at Carolina Hurricanes (32-32-9), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets still have an inside track on just the second playoff berth in franchise history, but a victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night would still go a long way in restoring some confidence.

The Blue Jackets have lost three of four and five of their past eight (3-4-1) as the club has failed to pull away from a tight pack battling for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Columbus is one of four teams tied for the playoff bids with 80 points, joined by the Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blue Jackets, Red Wings and Capitals all own tiebreakers over the Maple Leafs, who have played two more games than all three clubs.

Columbus, meanwhile, is currently holding the first of two wild card spots thanks to four more non-shootout wins over Detroit and seven more than the Capitals.

Saturday marks the Blue Jackets' second straight night in action as they lost a 2-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. James Wisniewski had Columbus' lone goal and Curtis McElhinney kept his team in it by making 29 saves in his first start since Jan. 28.

"They were just throwing pucks from bad angles and getting it on net every chance they had," said McElhinney. "You know, it's a simple game sometimes and it's just a matter of getting the right bounces."

McElhinney got the call as Sergei Bobrovsky was still recovering from illness that forced him out of Tuesday's win over the Red Wings early. Mike McKenna backed up McElhinney last night, but Bobrovsky was able to make the trip to Carolina as his status remains unknown.

Bobrovsky is 5-3-0 with a 2.10 goals against average in his career versus the Hurricanes, while McElhinney is 0-2-0 with a 4.41 GAA in this matchup.

Carolina sits seven points out of a wild card spot with nine games to play and had lost four of six before a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Jiri Tlusty scored twice and Anton Khudobin made 35 saves in his first shutout of the season and third of his career.

Jeff Skinner scored Carolina's other goal, while Khudobin capped his effort with a 12-save third period.

"It's always good when you didn't get scored on in a game obviously," Khudobin said. "We just got the (win), that's the most important thing."

Khudobin helped keep the Panthers off the scoreboard despite the opponent getting plenty of power-play time after Carolina's Radek Dvorak was assessed a charging major and game misconduct for running into Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo late in the first period.

"I made the shot and then like I said I was driving like 100 miles per hour to the net and then I got a little push and then next thing I knew I was in the net with (Luongo)," Dvorak recalled. "It was not intentional at all. That's not my style."

Khudobin's efforts may have earned him another start tonight over Cam Ward and the former is 2-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his career against the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets won their first two meetings this season with the Hurricanes to run their series winning streak to seven straight, but Carolina has responded with back-to-back wins.

The 'Canes' 3-2 victory on Jan. 27 snapped a three-game series home losing streak.

03/29 10:37:54 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
 
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
 
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
4th
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
 
4th
SALABAMA 34
NAVY 42
 
4th
ARZ 35
ARST 21
 
3rd
AFA 24
COLST 10
 
4th
UCLA 10
STAN 31
 
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
 
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
 
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
 
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
 
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
 
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 56
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
 
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
2nd
PROV 72
YALE 66
 
2nd
UGA 43
MINN 52
 
2nd
WISC 57
OKLA 48
 
2nd
Terriers 35
NORST 31
 
2nd
PEAY 30
STEPH 54
 
1st
FSU 0
CSOU 0
 
1st
VALPO 4
DRAK 0
 
1st
CIN 4
MTST 0
 
1st
SDU 4
PRIN 5
 
6:15pm Tonight
WASU
RICE
6:25pm Tonight
CSFU
USCU
6:30pm Tonight
GT
RIDE
7:00pm Tonight
TXPA
ALAST
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
TCU
BRAD
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
EMERSON
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GONZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
MON
7:00pm Tonight
JVST
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
SALA
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
VANDY
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
3rd
ANA 1
CHI 3
 
2nd
WAS 2
NYI 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DET
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
MON
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
VAN
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN