October 28, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Silver Seven
The Blue Jackets return home to Nationwide Arena tonight battered, bruised, cut up, you name it. The CBJ finished off their California road trip 1-2-0 (1-3-0 on the whole road trip if you throw in the Ottawa game prior to Cali) and with some injuries to boot. As if that wasn't enough, Sergei Bobrovsky apparently fractured his finger in practice on Monday and is out a week or two.
It looks like Curtis McElhinney will make his second start of the season with Anton Forsberg serving as his backup. You will recall CMac's first start, against these very Senators, did not end well as Nick Foligno plowed into him as he was trying to stop a cross-ice pass. McElhinney ended up with a neck/head injury and went on IR for a week.
Back to Foligno - after suffering a "stinger" on Sunday in L.A., Nick was hoping to get cleared to play tonight despite some lingering stiffness. He was not at the morning skate, and would appear to be out tonight. Meanwhile, Matt Calvert is on IR for roughly a week. Cam Atkinson is due back tonight after taking a skate to the face in Anaheim on Friday, and apparently will not wear a special visor or cage. The usual suspects are still out - Horton, Jenner, and Dubinsky. With Foligno likely out, that will make six of the top nine forwards who have missed time this season already. Lovely. Can't wait to see the "Man Games Lost" stat in a month.
On defense, Ryan Murray returned against the Kings. Shawn Mitchell is reporting from the morning skate that Tim Erixon and Cody Goloubef will be the scratches, meaning Dalton Prout is in. I know Todd Richards likes his righty/lefty combos but I would prefer to see Jack Johnson back with Fedor Tyutin, which would leave a Wiz/Murray pair and Prout and Savard as the 3rd pairing. Of course, if you don't like that just wait a few shifts as it will inevitably change.
Ryan Johansen comes into tonight's game with points in all eight contests so far this season (5-6-11). Scott Hartnell is tied for the league-lead in assists with nine. They will likely anchor the top line again and be joined by Cam Atkinson with Foligno out. The remaining lines will probably be shuffled throughout the game as it's an "all hands on deck" situation right now.
Tonight is the start of a stretch of eight games against Eastern Conference opponents in 18 days. Five of those games will come against Metro Division opponents. After a rough road trip, the Jackets could sorely use a win right now. And somebody better be there to hug Bobrovsky...I mean Foligno...crap. Just win and hug everyone, please.
I should have mentioned - Dan is utilizing the press pass tonight and will be taking care of the recap. So I am taking a stab at the preview for him. Here is my best guess at the lines:
(4-2-1, 9 Points; 5th Division, 9th Conference)
|Clarke MacArthur||Kyle Turris||
|Milan Michalek||Mika Zibanejad||Alex Chiasson|
|Mark Stone||David Legwand||Chris Neil|
|Jared Cowen||Cody Ceci|
|Mark Borowiecki||Eric Gryba|
Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-4-0, 8 Points; 6th division, 11th conference)
|Scott Hartnell||Ryan Johansen||
|Alexander Wennberg||Mark Letestu||Jack Skille|
|Adam Cracknell||Michael Chaput||Jared Boll|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Ryan Murray||James Wisniewski|
|Fedor Tyutin||Dalton Prout|