Road Trip Finishes Up in Columbus

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins
Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

The Carolina Hurricanes finish up the short, three-game road trip this evening when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Splitting the first two games, the Canes will look to finish above .500 for the trip against a last-place team in the Metro Division. Despite splitting the first two games, the Canes were able to salvage a point in the lone loss.

Carolina has a good opportunity to make up some ground on the first-place New York Rangers. After this evening, the Canes and Rangers will have played 60 games and right now Carolina trails New York by 7 points. The two teams will meet one final time later in March.

Speaking of the Rangers, the Blue Jackets played a home and home with New York and were dropped in both games by a total score of 8-3. Having lost their last 3 games, Columbus will be looking to turn things around. Also playing the backend of back-to-back games, the Jackets will be a tired group after traveling back from New York.

With Pyotr Kochetkov playing in Minnesota, it may be Spencer Martin in between the pipes tonight for the Canes. In what could be a revenge game for Martin, it would be a nice gesture for Rod Brind'Amour to give Spencer a chance to defeat the team that placed him on waivers.

Johnny Gaudreau was brought to Columbus to add scoring and he has been a disappointment despite leading this team in points with 42. The majority of those points are his 34 assists. Kirill Marchenko has had a solid season with 17 goals. 7 of those goals are on the man advantage.

Adam Fantilli, the team's top draft choice last spring, has had some injuries this year but overall has adjusted to life in the NHL with a 12-goal, 27-point season so far. Captain, Boone Jenner, leads the club in goals with 18 and may be trade bait come March 8th. He brings physicality and scoring punch in a big 6'2 frame. Cole Sillinger has not been able to match his rookie season and currently sits with just 21 points, but always a threat.

Scoring from the blue line is a big threat to this team. They focused on bringing in players like Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson in recent years. Zach Werenski leads the way with 33 points. Provorov has 26 points and Severson has 19 points.

Goaltending has been the weakness of the organization with 4 keepers having played this season, including Martin. Elvis Merzlikins has the most starts with 34, but has a poor 3.25 GAA. Daniil Tarasov has played 13 games with a 3.66 GAA so the options are not great. This is more the reason for Carolina to jump on them quickly.