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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Zach Werenski had two goals and two assists, Jet Greaves made 38 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat a diminished version of the playoff-bound Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 on Tuesday night.

The Hurricanes, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division, rested eight regulars in the meaningless regular-season finale.

Carolina finished with 111 points at 52-23-7, the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind the division champion New York Rangers. The Hurricanes reached the postseason for the sixth straight year.

“Now we turn the page,” Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. “This is what we wanted to play for all year, and we’re going to get an opportunity to do that.”

At least it wasn't another loss for last-place Columbus, which had another season marred by injuries that sidelined top players, including two goaltenders. The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season.

Luca Del Bel Belluz scored in his NHL debut, and Columbus also got goals from James Malatesta, Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Nylander.

“It’s been a hard season,” Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said. “The ups and downs and the injuries and all of that. It’s a sour taste because of everything that happened, but to finish like this, your last game, it’s good for the team.”

Teuvo Teravainen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored for Carolina and former Blue Jacket Spencer Martin, in his first start since Feb. 29, made 19 saves.

The Hurricanes suffered a blow when forward Jesper Fast was injured on a hit by Erik Gudbranson, who was penalized for cross-checking on the play. Brind’Amour didn’t give an update on Fast.

“That’s the part that just makes you sick, to be honest with you,” Brind’Amour said. “You’re just trying to get through the game without having that. I’m not sure where that’s going to go.”

Del Bel Belluz had an inauspicious start to his NHL career in the first period, when he served a penalty for too many men on the ice. Twelve seconds after jumping out of the box, he picked up his first career goal on his first shot, a wrister from the left circle.

“It’s definitely one to remember,” Del Bel Belluz said. "It was kind of a whirlwind of a day, just going to practice in the morning, regular day. Then just like that it switches and you’re on your way to Columbus and play my first NHL game, something that you dream of as a kid and something I’ll always remember.”

Werenski finished with 45 assists, a franchise record for a season by a defenseman. He also became the sixth player in Blue Jackets history to reach 300 career points.


Carolina prepares for the playoffs. The Blue Jackets go home.



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