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Game #3 Preview/Gamethread: Blue Jackets look to take bite out of the pizza box

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Who loves pizza? I love pizza!

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, January 18 - 12:00 EST
Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, Michigan
TV: NBCSN; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Winging it in Motown

Columbus Blue Jackets

at

Detroit Red Wings

I’m just really glad hockey is back. With that said, I do want victories and I want them now! Columbus’ next opportunity for one comes this afternoon in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at the Detroit Red Wings from Little Caesars Arena. The two clubs will also play tomorrow night to conclude the quick two-game mini series.

Player to Watch

Cam Atkinson

It’s well-documented — by me alone — how much Cam Atkinson struggled last year with goal-scoring droughts and inconsistencies offensively, while also dealing with injuries. So with the off-season talks about the team wanting to open things up offensively, coupled with guys like Gustav Nyquist out, it’s paramount for the top-dogs to kick it into high-gear right now.

I know it’s tough without the preseason and minimized training camp this year, but even tam is dealing with that.

Jackets Notes

Today’s game with the Red Wings starts the first true back-to-back for Columbus as they’ll also face the Wings tomorrow night from the pizza box in Detroit. ... Columbus enters today’s matchup 39-43-1-12 versus Detroit all-time. ... An interesting note from Jeff Svoboda, since March 17, 2011, the Jackets are 21-4-2 versus Detroit and 11-1-0 since 2016-17. ... I’m ready to see the young guys get chances and the Blue Jackets to throw caution to the wind. I mean really, what do they have to lose in a shortened season but to see what they have in guys like Liam Foudy, Emil Bemstrom, and so many others. ... Through two games, the Jackets offense is not particularly good. The power play is a big fat zero out of four chances. ... Mikko Koivu remains on the Covid-protocols list.

The Other Bench

In his second full season as General Manager of the Red Wings, Steve Yzerman is officially putting his prints over the team he captained, won three Stanley Cups with, and who’s winged wheel he went into the Hall of Fame with. Now, he’s looking to set the Wings back towards the glory years he enjoyed that success with as a player. Coming off a season that brought back memories of the “Dead Wings” moniker, last year’s team finished with the worst overall record (17-49-5) in the shortened year.

With that said, while I don’t expect the Wings to be a playoff team yet, I like some of the moves they made over this past off-season. Newcomers include heralded veterans like Bobby Ryan, last season’s Bill Masterton Trophy winner for comeback player of the year and comes on a bargain deal for one-year, $1 million. They also bring in defensemen Marc Staal, a veteran who spent his first 13 seasons with the New York Rangers, former Blue Jacket Sam Gagner is in his first full season with the club after a trade from the Edmonton Oilers last year, and netminder Thomas Greiss joins the club on a two-year deal, a guy the Jackets had to deal with quite a bit in recent years with the New York Islanders. ... Greiss has played more games (22 — 10-8-3, 2.78 GAA, .908 SV%) versus Columbus than any other team. ... They also brought in Vladislav Namestnikov on a two-year, $4 million deal. ... Detroit is 1-1-0 on the season after splitting their first two games against the Carolin Hurricanes; they won 4-2 on Saturday.

Season Series

01/18/21 CBJ @ DET
01/19/21 CBJ @ DET
03/02/21 DET @ CBJ
03/27/21 CBJ @ DET
03/28/21 CBJ @ DET
04/27/21 DET @ CBJ
05/07/21 DET @ CBJ
05/08/21 DET @ CBJ

2020-21 Stats

Detroit Columbus
2.00 (23) GPG 1.50 (28)
2.50 (11) GAPG 4.00 (23)
0.0% (22) PP% 0.0% (22)
75.0% (16) PK% 100.0% (1)
36.7% (30) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 50.7% (12)
36.8% (30) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 50.7% (14)
10.3 (9) 5v5 Shot % 5.0 (26)
.967 (4) 5v5 Save % .865 (27)
Dylan Larkin, 2 G Leader Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Alexandre Texier, 1
Filip Zadina, 2 A Leader Michael Del Zotto, 2
Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina 2 P Leader Michael Del Zotto, Alexandre Texier, 2
Sam Gagner, 5 PIM Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alexandre Texier, 4
1-1-0 Home / Road 0-2-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Mikhail Grigorenko Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner Max Domi Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexandre Texier Liam Foudy
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Michael Del Zotto Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Detroit Red Wings
Tyler Bertuzzi Dylan Larkin Anthony Mantha
Filip Zadina Robby Fabbri Bobby Ryan
Vladislav Namestnikov Valtteri Filppula Sam Gagner
Mathias Brome Luke Glendening Adam Erne
Patrik Nemeth Filip Hronek
Dan Dekeyser Jon Merrill
Marc Staal Troy Stecher
Jonathan Bernier
Tomas Greiss

To continue with today’s pizza theme, this is for Ryan.