Game Preview #4 - Yard Stick Game

Gregory Shamus

The reigning Eastern Conference champions come calling for a Saturday matinee in their only appearance this season at Nationwide.

Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets

October 12, 2013 - 2:00pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder
SBN's Bruins vs Blue Jackets Coverage

This should be fun. I wrote that Thursday's game against Buffalo was a chance to find out if the Jackets are approaching how "good" they expect to be. It was a test wrapped in a trap game: a winless team, in their building, with this game looming. It would have been easy to look past it a bit. I wanted to see the Jackets come out and dominate, and I'd argue that they did that in spades.

Now, this game. It's a total measuring stick. Boston is the reigning Eastern Conference champs, and should be there in that discussion again this season. So, to continue with the "how good is this Jackets team?" meme, today should be a pretty good chance to find out.

This is Boston's first road game of the season, and they're coming off a game Thursday also (a shutout loss to suddenly-hot Colorado). Suffice it to say they'll be motivated to get that taste out of their mouths.

For Columbus, they're riding a two-game win streak after coming out flat in their opener. This is their first chance to reinvigorate the fans at Nationwide, and also their only home game before three more on the road next week.

The Jackets are expecting to have Fedor Tyutin back for this game, and his return will hopefully help to calm down a somewhat skittish defense. I like Dalton Prout, but he's not a top-pairing guy; Tyutin is. He covers for Jack Johnson, and also would push either Prout, Nikita Nikitin, or David Savard to the press box. It's not a slight to those guys to say that that would be an improvement. My guess is that Nikitin sits, because they'll want the physicality and Prout has played better than Niki. Savard has played well enough to stay in regardless, in my opinion. We'll wait and see what the lineup looks like.

In other roster news, the Jackets sent Tim Erixon to Springfield (no surprise there) and recalled forward Ryan Craig.

All in all, while the season is still young, this is a perfect chance for a "statement game" for the Jackets. What that statement says is entirely up to them.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-1-0, 4 Points; 4th division, 7th conference)

Cam Atkinson Brandon Dubinsky Marian Gaborik
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Matt Calvert Artem Anisimov Blake Comeau
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Dalton Prout David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Boston Bruins
(2-1-0, 4 Points; 3rd Division, 6th Conference)

Milan Lucic David Krejci Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron Chris Kelly Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille Gregory Campbell Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug Adam McQuaid
Tuukka Rask
Chad Johnson

Season Series

10/12/13 - Boston at Columbus
11/14/13 - Columbus at Boston
11/30/13 - Columbus at Boston

Head to Head Stats

Bruins Columbus
2.33 (21) GPG 3.00 (13)
1.33 (3) GAPG 2.33 (11)
20.0% (17) PP% 22.2% (13)
90.9% (6) PK% 83.3% (12)
seven tied, 1 G leader Marian Gaborik / Nick Foligno, 2
Milan Lucic / David Krejci, 2 A leader Marian Gaborik, 3
Milan Lucic, 3 Pts leader Marian Gaborik, 5
Milan Lucic / Shawn Thornton, 12 PIM leader Nick Foligno, 7
0-0-0 Road/Home 0-1-0
10/10 vs Colorado, L 2-0 Last Game 10/10 @ Buffalo, W 4-1
2-1-0 Last 10 2-1-0

Game Notes

  • How "Good" Are You? Part 2 - This was my top note from the Buffalo preview. In that context, I wanted to know: if the Jackets are going to live up to their expectations, can they come out and dominate a bad team on the road? The answer was decidedly "yes". Now, this game is a different animal. This is a measuring stick against the cream of the crop. Boston is one the best teams in the league, and arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference. So, Jackets, how "good" are you?
  • The Horton Factor - Is there one? You would think the Jackets could pick Nathan Horton's brain a bit about what makes Boston tick systemically. Even though he can't play, he can certainly educate his new team about the tendencies of his old team. And, I don't know what the "money on the board" policy is for players not playing, but there might be a little something extra involved.
  • Bob and Rask - In my opinion, these two were the two best goalies in the game last season. Rask had the same 2.00 gaa last season, and his save percentage was just behind Bob's at .929. Rask also played in 36 games last season, which was close to Bob's production as well. These two guys were the genuine article. I'm looking forward to seeing them go head to head!

There's no OSU game, and it's an early start time. I expect the barn to be packed, people. Let's make it happen!

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