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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
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
WAS 102
ATL 106
 
Final
MIA 97
GSW 114
 
4th
MIL 98
DET 86
 
4th
NOP 85
SAC 97
 
Half
DEN 56
CHI 49
 
4th
UMO 21
OHIO 21
 
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
Final
BUCK 58
MDES 55
 
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
 
Final
UWGB 64
EVAN 62
Final
ARST 71
ALA 76
 
Final
OHIO 69
ARKPB 60
 
Final
UNH 75
BU 68
 
Final
OU 70
CHIST 57
 
Final
TOL 79
DET 82
 
Final
CLMB 57
FD 47
 
Final
QUIN 50
HART 54
 
Final
SFLA 71
HOF 70
 
Final
HARV 84
HOU 63
 
Final
BONA 79
JST 71
 
Final
STJOE 74
LIU 70
 
Final
SYR 70
GHND 37
 
Final
MLOWELL 102
MTIDA 57
 
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
VT 54
NIOWA 73
 
Final
WOFF 82
OHVALLEY 54
 
Final
TEMPL 76
PENN 67
 
Final
RUTG 50
PETE 68
 
Final
BGU 62
SEMIZ 54
 
Final
LAS 73
Terriers 60
 
Final
UVA 79
TENST 36
 
Final
KENT 92
TXARL 44
Final
FSU 66
CITA 55
 
Final
PBY 63
TOCC 40
 
Final
COOK 56
TENNM 74
 
Final
WMARY 83
WILL 49
 
Final
USB 71
WKENT 61
 
Final
HIGH 88
WMPEACE 71
 
Final
SMU 72
ARK 78
 
Final
ARMY 80
BING 54
 
Final
CSOU 80
CARK 67
 
Final
UMBC 54
HOW 68
 
Final
ARZ 72
KYST 68
 
Final
OREG 63
VCU 77
 
Final
PSU 78
AKR 72
 
Final
SCST 92
CIU 55
 
Final
CREI 75
EILL 53
 
Final
ALAAM 61
JVST 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 91
JCHR 65
 
Final
TXSA 57
LOYC 71
 
Final
NDST 64
MNCROOK 63
 
Final
NEB 80
NEOM 67
 
Final
VANDY 63
NORST 53
 
Final
STLU 57
NCAT 54
 
Final
MTST 65
NARZ 53
 
Final
TTU 75
NWST 64
 
Final
TULA 74
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ILLCH 87
STXAVIER 76
 
Final
TEX 78
RFLSH 46
 
Final
BRAD 52
TAMCC 38
 
Final
SMISS 72
TROY 70
 
Final
DRAK 73
IUPUI 60
 
Final
ARKST 58
LAM 63
 
2nd
FLGC 53
USF 29
 
2nd
COL 48
AFA 20
 
2nd
IDAHO 34
BSU 44
 
2nd
GRCN 37
BUF 49
 
2nd
ORU 31
LALAF 43
 
2nd
CHAR 47
MIAMI 57
 
Half
ISU 34
MD 37
 
1st
UMO 20
NW 21
 
1st
SACST 20
BRISTOL 15
 
1st
MICH 3
VILL 4
 
1st
SDST 2
PITT 2
 
11:00pm Tonight
USC
CSFU
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
DEL
Final
CLB 2
WIN 4
 
3rd
NAS 3
LOS 3
 
3rd
STL 2
OTT 0
 
2nd Intermission
DAL 3
EDM 1
 
2nd
ARI 3
COL 1
 
1st
ANA 1
CAL 0
 
1st
VAN 0
NJD 0