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Preview: Lost in the Desert

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The Blue Jackets look to find their game before it’s too late

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets faced one of the top teams in the NHL. Tonight, they face the worst, as they visit the Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes have been playing better of late, however, with just one regulation loss in their last eight games (3-1-4). The player to watch for Arizona is rookie forward Clayton Keller. He leads his team in goals and assists and is fourth among rookies leaguewide in points.

On the Blue Jackets side, there is big news in the return of Cam Atkinson after four weeks on the IR with a foot injury. Ideally his presence in the lineup will provide a much needed spark. I am guessing on the line combinations, but it seems most natural to put Cam with Alexander Wennberg. I hate to put BJORKSTRAND down to the fourth line but I think he could play well with Schroeder and Sedlak, and that can be a productive fourth line.

The corresponding move was sending Tyler Motte back to the Cleveland Monsters.

In other Jackets news, Brandon Dubinsky returned home to Columbus for some medical evaluation. As it’s a medical issue, the team could not comment, other than to say it was not a disciplinary matter, as was first reported in an innuendo-laden report from CROOKED AARON PORTZLINE of the FAILING ATHLETIC which was later confirmed to be #FAKENEWS. Steve Gorten of the Columbus Dispatch got some clarity from Dubi’s agent, who insists his client will be back with the team after the All-Star break.

Projected Lineups

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Jussi Jokinen Nick Foligno
Jordan Schroeder Lukas Sedlak Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Scott Harrington Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Arizona Coyote
Brendan Perlini Derek Stepan Richard Panik
Clayton Keller Christian Dvorak Tobias Rieder
Zac Rinaldo Max Domi Christian Fletcher
Nick Cousins Brad Richardson Jordan Martinook
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun Niklas Hjalmarsson
Alex Goligoski Luke Schenn
Antti Raanta
Scott Wedgewood