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Pascal Leclaire stops 25 shots as Blue Jackets beat Hurricanes 4-1

Pascal Leclaire stopped 25 shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets kept the defending Stanley Cup champions 0-for-the-pre-season with a 4-1 win over Carolina on Friday night.

"It doesn't matter when it is - it's no fun losing hockey games," Carolina defenceman Mike Commodore said. "It was a short summer, and it's a little different coming back so quick, but last year's over. Don't get me wrong, it was great . . . but it's over."

Fredrik Modin, Jason Chimera and Dan Fritsche scored for the Blue Jackets (4-3), and Geoff Platt added an empty-net goal. Columbus won its first road game of the pre-season by defeating Carolina for the second time in a six-day span.

"This is a lot bigger win than people think for us because it's our last exhibition game," Fritsche said. "Now we're going in, we know what we have to work on. We've got the confidence and the ability."

Commodore scored for the Hurricanes (0-4), whose last win came in June when they beat the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Cup finals for the franchise's first championship.

In four pre-season games since, the Hurricanes have been outscored 20-10. After their latest loss, they were chided by coach Peter Laviolette for not playing hard.

"We got destroyed in work ethic," Laviolette said.

The Blue Jackets started strong, with Modin giving Columbus an early lead midway through the first period. Carolina goaltender Cam Ward deflected Jaroslav Balastik's wrist shot, but Modin tapped in the rebound at 7:48.

"We've got a lot of guys here who like to play in the corners, and you need to do that to win on the road, especially against a disciplined team," Columbus captain Adam Foote said.

Chimera made it 2-0 early in the second period when his short-handed wrist shot beat Ward. Commodore pulled Carolina within one about three minutes later when he scored a power-play goal from just inside the blue line.

Fritsche restored the Blue Jackets' two-goal lead in the final minute of the second period when he took a pass from Platt on a two-on-one break and beat John Grahame for his second goal against the Hurricanes this pre-season. Platt added a short-handed empty-net goal from behind the centre line in the final minute.

Ward played about half the game for Carolina, making nine saves and allowing two goals before giving way to Grahame - who stopped 12 shots and allowed one goal.

The Hurricanes played short-handed after a trade earlier in the day sent defenceman Oleg Tverdovsky and top prospect Jack Johnson to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Eric Belanger and defenceman Tim Gleason.

Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said he expects Belanger and Gleason to join the team Saturday and skate in Sunday night's pre-season finale at Washington.

Carolina forward Justin Williams had a groin injury during the third period and did not return. Laviolette said he wasn't sure whether Williams will be available against the Capitals.


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