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Game Preview 1: Renewing Acquaintances

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The 2015-2016 season begins with a familiar foe -- the New York Rangers. Can the Blue Jackets repeat last year's victory in the home opener, with a healthy, deeper lineup?

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. New York Rangers

Friday, October 9, 2015 - 7:00 PM EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio: 97.1 FM -- The Fan   TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog - Blueshirt Banter

It's fitting that the new season begins with the Blue Jackets and Rangers, given the rather extensive recent history between the two franchises.  Between the Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik deals, it seemed that the franchises simply switched large blocks of their respective rosters, in addition to past transactions. However, change comes quickly in the NHL, and the two clubs share less in common.  Nash and Brassard remain in the Big Apple, but Anton Stralman, John Moore, and Derek Dorsett are elsewhere.  For the Blue Jackets, Fedor Tyutin and Brandon Dubinsky remain, but Tim Erixon and Artem Anisimov are plying their trades elsewhere.  Marian Gaborik is gone from both clubs.

Despite the passage of time, this series is proving to be a solid Metro Division rivalry, and the road to the playoffs certainly is expected to run through Madison Square Garden.  In last year's home opener, the Blue Jackets prevailed 5 -2, and that came without either Brandon Dubinsky or Boone Jenner in the lineup.  Both are healthy for this debut, the first of a back-to-back series representing the home opener's for each, and the season opener for Columbus.  The Blue Jackets are deeper, healthier and more talented than last year's squad.  Meanwhile, the Rangers have re-tooled, adding Keith Yandle and Jarret Stoll, among others.

The Rangers spoiled the Chicago Blackhawks' opener, and will be looking to do the same to the Blue Jackets.  Columbus, in turn, will be looking to show it will be force to contend with in the Metro, and will not succumb to the slow starts of past seasons.  It should be a barn burner.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets 
(0-0-0  0 points  3rd Division, 6th Conference)

Brandon Saad Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Rene Bourque
Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
William Karlsson Gregory Campbell Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray David Savard
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout/Cody Goloubef
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New York Rangers
(1 -0 -0  2 points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)

Rick Nash Derrick Brassard Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Kevin Hayes
J.T. Miller Oscar Lindberg Victor Stalberg
Dominic Moore Jarret Stoll Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle Kevin Klein
Henrik Lundqvist
Antti Raanta