Although they are all but eliminated from playoff contention, the Columbus Blue Jackets have displayed prideful play lately.
They showed that newfound energy less than a week ago against the Carolina Hurricanes, and get a rematch Sunday night in Columbus.
Following an 0-6-1 stretch from Feb. 21-March 3, the Blue Jackets (30-34-4) have won three in a row and four of five - a stretch that includes a 4-3 shootout win in Carolina on Tuesday.
All three of Columbus' goals in that victory came on the power play, where the Blue Jackets have converted on five of their last 12 chances. Scott Hartnell scored twice, Ryan Johansen netted the shootout winner and Sergei Bobrovsky earned the second of a current four-start winning streak.
Bobrovsky was in net again Friday for Columbus' 5-4 shootout win over Edmonton. Hartnell continued his torrid pace by tying the game late in the third period with his fourth goal in three games.
"We battled back and were able to get the extra point and it was exciting to get the 'W', especially at home," Hartnell told the Blue Jackets' official website. "We haven't had a good stretch of games here at home, and we have to continue (today's effort) on Sunday."
The Blue Jackets' defeat of the Oilers was their first home victory in six tries.
"We know we haven't been as good as we'd like to be at home," Johansen said prior to the win. "It's evident we're focused and when we're playing to our system we're successful."
Carolina (25-34-8) has dropped two straight since its loss to the Blue Jackets, falling to Dallas on Thursday and Florida 2-0 on Saturday.
Cam Ward, who had allowed three or more goals in four straight appearances, surrendered only one against the Panthers.
In spite of the loss, coach Bill Peters believes the effort is something his team can build from.
''I thought that was one of our better pushes there in the third period,'' Peters said. "For sure, this was one of our better defensive efforts lately. It's been going into the net a little too easy and tonight it was a power play and an empty-netter.''
Ward figures to relinquish the net Sunday to Anton Khudobin, who has won just one of his last eight starts, and owns a 3.54 GAA in his last two. He posted a 2-1-1 record and 2.23 GAA in four appearances versus the Blue Jackets last season.
Carolina's penalty kill, which struggled in last week's loss to Columbus, allowed another goal on Saturday. The Hurricanes have killed off only six of 12 opposing power plays in the past four games.
"Five-on-five we were better defensively," captain Eric Staal said. "One mistake, a tough one on the penalty kill, but other than that we checked harder and stronger."
The Blue Jackets' penalty kill has been similarly poor, allowing 13 goals in seven games this month.
The Hurricanes swept a home-and-home series against the Blue Jackets in November and have won their last two at Nationwide Arena.