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Hurricanes 3, Blue Jackets 1

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Goaltender Anton Khudobin had 46 saves and came within 50 seconds of his third career shutout, and the Carolina Hurricanes kept alive their faint playoff hopes with a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in Nationwide Arena.

The win came one day after coach Kirk Muller ripped into his club and challenged them to play the rest of the season for pride, each other and Hurricanes fans, who have not seen playoff hockey since Carolina reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2009.

Right winger Patrick Dwyer and center Andrei Loktionov each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, and right winger Nathan Gerbe added a goal.

But this was the Khudobin show. He was at his best in the second period, making 17 saves as the Hurricanes scored twice to push the lead to 3-0.

Carolina had won only three of their previous 12 games.

The Blue Jackets were shut out for the fourth time this season, the first since Nov. 27.

Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 17 of 20 shots in the first two periods before resting in the third. Curtis McElhinney played the final 20 minutes, when Carolina mostly ran the clock down.

The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead only 3:41 into the game.

Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin was caught deep in the offensive zone, springing Gerbe and Loktionov on a two-on-one with only Blue Jackets defensemen James Wisniewski defending between them.

Gerbe kept the puck and wired a shot over Bobrovsky's glove, scoring on the first shot of the game.

The lead grew to 2-0 at 2:23 of the second period when Bobrovsky left a juicy rebound off a shot by Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison. Loktionov outbattled Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson to the loose puck and buried it behind Bobrovsky.

The game was still in reach late in the second, but Bobrovsky let in a soft goal late in the period to push the lead to 2-0.

Dwyer scored off the rush, ripping a slap shot from the right point that beat Bobrovsky's glove clean.

The Blue Jackets pulled McElhinney with three minutes left in the third period for an extra skater, the only way they could beat Khudobin.

Blue Jackets left winger Boone Jenner took a feed from center Ryan Johansen and scored from just inside the blue line with 50 seconds remaining to avert the shutout.

NOTES: Hurricanes rookie D Ryan Murphy left the game in the first period after getting checked along the wall by Blue Jackets LW Blake Comeau. Murphy, who staggered badly on his way off the ice, did not return to the game. ... Comeau was playing his first game back after a two-game suspension for checking Detroit D Brendan Smith from behind on March 11. He could be facing further discipline from the NHL's department of player safety. ... Blue Jackets RW Cam Atkinson was a healthy scratch for the third time in five games despite being the club's third-leading scorer with 18 goals. Coach Todd Richards said he had no problem with the way Atkinson was playing but that he was looking for a more physical lineup.
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