The Columbus Blue Jackets won't have defenseman Jack Johnson for their game Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
No injury this time for the Blue Jackets. Johnson has been suspended three games by the NHL for his blow to Jiri Tlusty's head during Tuesday's game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Johnson made a blindside, open-ice hit on Tlusty during the third period. Tlusty was woozy and did not return to the game as the Canes won 4-2 for their third straight victory.
"It's tough to see a hit like that against Jiri," Canes forward Zach Boychuk said after the game. "You don't like to see a guy go down like that."
Johnson, who received a two-minute penalty for the hit, had a hearing Wednesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety. The ruling was Johnson hit him with his right shoulder while making Tlusty's head the "main point of contact" and that Johnson elevated into the hit.
Tlusty was evaluated Wednesday and will have more tests Thursday, but was feeling better. The Canes had the day off Wednesday.
The Hurricanes led 3-1 when the Johnson hit occurred, at 7 minutes, 31 seconds of the third. The third goal came on Justin Faulk's shorthanded score in the second period, on a play when Faulk forced Johnson to cough up the puck near the Carolina blue line.
It was a physical game. Canes defenseman Jay Harrison dropped the gloves and fought Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell in the second period, and the third period was chippy.
"That's kind of the way they play," Faulk said. "They're a heavy team. They like to play physical and use their bodies. At the same time, it was a good test for us, to show we can weather that storm."
Faulk noted the Canes did that Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, beating the Stanley Cup champions 3-2 at PNC Arena. Columbus had won eight of the past 10 games against Carolina.
"They've had our number of late," Faulk said. "It was good to come in, against a divisional opponent and steal two points on the road."
The Blue Jackets, who dropped their sixth straight, have a long injury list. Among the players sidelined are goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and defenseman James Wisniewski, both out with fractured fingers, and forward Brandon Dubinsky (lower-body injury).
The Blue Jackets had forwards Boone Jenner and Matt Calvert back in the lineup Tuesday. Jenner was playing his first game of the season and was another heavy presence on the ice.
The Blue Jackets put a lot of bodies around the Carolina net in the final minutes, crowding goalie Cam Ward. Nick Foligno's second goal of the game, with 5:23 left in regulation, pulled Columbus within 3-2 and the Blue Jackets pushed hard to get a tying score.
"Toward the end they have some big bodies who create a lot of chaos and traffic around the net, which makes it awfully difficult," Ward said. "There was a lot of clustering in front of me but the puck never seemed to get to me. Obviously we're boxing out and blocking a lot of shots."
Boychuk and Riley Nash each had goals in the first period for the Canes (3-6-2), who edged past the Jackets (4-8-0) and into seventh place in the division. Trailing 2-0 late in the first, Columbus picked up a power-play score from Foligno.
The Canes were the ones doing most of the shooting, though, testing goalie Curtis McElhinney. They had 18 shots in the first and outshot the Blue Jackets 37-19, limiting Columbus to three second-period shots.
"We were trying to focus on getting pucks to the net and getting guys to the net," said Boychuk, who backhanded in the rebound of a Tim Gleason shot.
The Canes couldn't convert on six power plays, but three even-strength goals and the first shortie of the season were enough.
And Friday's game?
"We can expect they'll be much better and we've got to be ready for that," Ward said.