The Carolina Hurricanes will close out their five game homestand on Sunday, as they play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Following Friday’s contest, which can only be described as their worst performance of the season, the Hurricanes are at risk of turning in a 2-3 record during their home stint.
After holding a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period, Carolina witnessed Tampa Bay score eight of the next nine goals to secure an 8-2 victory.
Goaltender Antti Raanta stopped just seven of the Lightning’s 15 shot attempts, allowing five third period scores.
Forwards Stefan Noesen and Michael Bunting tallied the goals for the Hurricanes, who earned just one win in three tries against Tampa Bay this season.
While the loss brought forth a plethora of question marks, including the power play, the Hurricanes did receive positive performances from a handful of skaters.
Jack Drury recorded a point for the second consecutive contest, while linemates Noesen and Bunting were perhaps the best line for Rod Brind’Amour.
In addition, Jalen Chatfield and Dmitry Orlov, who have played the last two games together on the third defensive pairing, impressed during their 22 shifts together.
Now, Carolina will look to salvage their homestand against Columbus, who enters on a two game winning streak.
Despite the recent success, the Blue Jackets sit in last place in the Metro Division, amassing 16 points over 21 games with a record of 6-11-4.
Defenseman Zach Werenski paces the roster with 15 points, including 14 assists, while Boone Jenner’s 13 goals are a team-high.
Rookie Adam Fantilli, who was the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, is one of just four Blue Jackets to reach the double digit point mark.
After missing two games due to illness, center Alexandre Texier is expected to return to the lineup, per Columbus team reporter Jeff Svoboda.
For Columbus, goaltending has been an area of concern through the first quarter of the season.
Their 74 goals allowed rank last in the Metro Division and second to last in the Eastern Conference.
Elvis Merzlikins has appeared in net in 15 games, accruing a 5-6-3 record. The 29-year old surrenders 3.12 goals per game with a .905 save percentage.
Spencer Martin makes up the other half of the goaltending tandem, and has a 1-5-1 record with a .898 save percentage while allowing 3.37 goals per contest.
However, Martin recorded his best outing of the season on Friday against New Jersey, allowing just one goal on 38 shot attempts.
If Columbus continues their rotation, then Merzlikins would take over in net for Sunday’s matchup. He has faced off against the Hurricanes on six occasions, including four starts, and compiled a 3-1-0 record.
Sunday marks the first of four matchups between the two teams this season.
Puck drop is set for 5:00pm at PNC Arena.