Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets - 7:00 PM EDT
Talk about a scheduling quirk.
After dropping their first two games, and then being gifted an astounding five days in a row off (seriously, we couldn’t bank one of those to break up the two billion back-to-backs we have later this year?), the Columbus Blue Jackets return to the ice tonight to take on the visiting Chicago Blackhawks and their traveling legion of fans in Nationwide Arena.
What do I expect tonight? Well … that’s an excellent question. Chicago hasn’t had a great start to the season, but seem to be rolling now. They’re coming off a game where they hung seven goals on the Philadelphia Flyers, winning two straight after losing their first two games of the season. Marian Hossa just scored his 500th career goal. Columbus, meanwhile, has spent the last several days in practice, working on defending rushes (and, according to Aaron Portzline, it was not going well).
Late last season, I predicted the Blackhawks would massacre the Blue Jackets in their final meeting of the season. Naturally, the Jackets went out and won that game, because I am made to look like an idiot at every turn when it comes to thinking anything rational will happen with this team.
So … what’s going to happen? Let’s say a close loss to the Hawks, and the first real struggle at the NHL level for Zach Werenski. Maybe this means he’ll have his first NHL hat trick and the Jackets will blow the doors off the Blackhawks. Who knows – I’m not good at predicting things.
In team news, Cody Goloubef was placed on waivers yesterday. The team has eight defensemen on the roster, and there simply wasn’t room for Goloubef after his return from an oblique injury.
I’m basing the CBJ lineup on practice lines the other day, and assuming Ryan Murray will make his return. Sam Gagner, by all accounts, is going to be a healthy scratch.
Let’s get a win tonight.