Blue Jackets come in hot vs. rested Hurricanes

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The Columbus Blue Jackets will attempt to stretch their points streak to five games when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

The Blue Jackets have won three of their last five contests, including a 4-3 overtime victory at Toronto on Monday, with the losses coming in overtime by 3-2 scores at Chicago and to the New York Islanders.

Gustav Nyquist netted the game-winner on a penalty shot on Monday when he beat Frederik Andersen with a wrist shot on his glove side at the 1:57 mark of overtime.

Columbus is moving forward despite losing arguably the two top free agents in the summer — two-time Vezina Award-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida) and left wing Artemi Panarin (Rangers), from a team that swept Presidents’ Trophy winner Tampa Bay in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Blue Jackets lost to Boston in six games in the second round.

“We’re supposed to suck this year,” coach John Tortorella said after Monday’s win. “We’re going to worry about business and just take it a day at a time.”

Joonas Korpisalo, who backed up Bobrovsky last season, has stepped into the No. 1 role and is 4-2-1 with a 2.70 goals-against average. He had 28 saves in the win over the Maple Leafs.

“He’s a guy that the guys like playing in front of,” Tortorella said.

After losing back-to-back 3-2 decisions in OT, the Blue Jackets rallied from a 3-2 deficit after two periods to edge Toronto on Nyquist’s penalty shot in extra time.

“Just stayed with it and found a way,” said Tortorella, who added that his team didn’t use any special strategy to win in OT. “You guys don’t believe me, but we won’t go over what we do in 3-on-3. That’s their game. That’s their instincts, and just go play.”

The Blue Jackets’ five-game unbeaten streak began with a 3-2 victory at Carolina on Oct. 12, snapping the Hurricanes’ 5-0-0 start to the season, the best start in franchise history. Pierre-Luc Dubois’ goal at the 1:15 mark of the third period turned out to be the game-winner as Korpisalo stopped 30 of 32 shots.

Carolina will be coming in off a five-day break since ending a three-game western road trip with a 4-2 loss at Anaheim on Friday. The Hurricanes went 1-2 on the trip and have lost three of four.

“It’s kind of weird,” left wing Sebastian Aho told NHL.com of the long break. “But for me personally, and as a team too, I think we needed this as a rest. Get our minds off hockey for a little bit. I think it’s good for us, but it’s definitely kind of weird.”

Carolina held several up-tempo practices in an effort to remain sharp over the break.

“I don’t believe that stuff because it’s only five days,” Aho said. “It’s not five months. For sure, it helps when you keep your tempo up so when the games come after the break it’s not a shock to the body, either.”

–Field Level Media

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