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Gameday: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets

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Here’s what you need to know

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, March 9, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Winging it in Motown

Columbus Blue Jackets, 35-28-5, 75 points, 5th Metro, 8th East

vs.

Detroit Red Wings, 26-30-11, 63 points, 5th Atlantic, 13th East

Preview

YOUR Columbus Blue Jackets are riding high, with a three game win streak and a four game home win streak. They look to continue that tonight with the back leg of a rare home back-to-back, vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to return to the starting lineup after recovering from an illness. Major stick taps to Joonas Korpisalo for earning two victories this week in Bob’s absence.

No other lineup changes are expected, and why would they be? We’re in the final month of the season and have finally hit upon four lines and three pairs that work. There is balance, there is chemistry, and there is confidence.

The biggest surprise last night was the long-awaited emergence of the Thomas Vanek-Alexander Wennberg-Boone Jenner line. Vanek scored his first two goals as a Blue Jacket after being mostly invisible for his first four games with his new team. Boone added a goal of his own. We knew the Bread/PLD/Cam line could score, and the Milano/Fligs/BJORKSTRAND line has been on fire. If the Wennberg line can repeat last night’s performance, that gives Columbus three legit scoring threats (plus the obligatory gritty fourth line of Calvert/Dubi/Letestu). That’s exactly the kind of setup you want to have as you enter the playoff push.

Florida won last night, to remain three points back with three games in hand. But more importantly, New Jersey lost yet again, so Columbus is just one point behind. A win tonight puts us in the first wild card position. As Zach Werenski said after the game, it’s time to start looking at the teams ahead that they can catch, not just the teams trailing them from behind.

As for tonight’s opponent, would you have imagined five years ago that the Red Wings would feel so nonthreatening as an opponent? They played last night as well and got shut out by Vegas. Jimmy Howard took the L, so we’re likely to see new backup Jared Coreau. Petr Mrazek, of course, was traded to Philadelphia. Their other big trade was sending Tomas Tatar to Vegas. It’s rebuilding time in the Motor City; will Ken Holland keep his job long enough to complete it? Whoever is in charge at least still has some promising young talent in forwards Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.

Season Series

11/11/2017 CBJ 2 @ DET 1 (SO)
03/09/2018 DET @ CBJ
04/03/2018 DET @ CBJ

Stats

Detroit Columbus
2.55 (28) GPG 2.63 (26)
3.01 (22) GAPG 2.75 (10)
18.5% (22) PP% 14.6% (30)
78.1% (23) PK% 77.1% (25)
48.68% (21) EV Corsi % 51.64% (7)
99.7 (18) EV PDO 99.8 (16)
Anthony Mantha 23 G Leader Artemi Panarin, 21
Dylan Larkin, 40 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 38
Dylan Larkin, 49 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 59
Luke Witowski, 63 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, 48
13-16-3 Home / Road 21-11-2
2-6-2 Last 10 6-4-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Sonny Milano Nick Foligno Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg Thomas Vanek
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Mark Letestu
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Ryan Murray
Ian Cole David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Detroit Red Wings
Anthony Mantha Dylan Larkin Martin Frk
Tyler Bertuzzi Henrik Zetterberg Gustav Nyquist
Darren Helm Luke Glendening Luke Witkowski
Justin Abdelkader Andreas Athanasiou Yevgeni Svechnikov
Danny Dekeyser Nick Jensen
Trevor Daley Jonathan Ericsson
Niklas Kronwall Mike Green
Jared Coreau
Jimmy Howard