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Game 1 Preview: The first step of a step forward

Here’s Johnny

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 7:00 EDT
PNC Arena - Raleigh, North Carolina
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Canes Country

Columbus Blue Jackets

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Carolina Hurricanes

Last year at this time, little was expected of the Blue Jackets. Instead, they stormed out of the gate, winning 12 of their first 18 games, and finished with 81 points. Patrik Laine looked like his old self, putting up a point per game over 56 games. 18 year old rookie Cole Sillinger played 79 games at center.

With those accomplishments comes the burden of expectations. Last season was a bounce back from the disastrous 2021 season; can this season be another step forward towards playoff contention? There are some new faces (more on that later) there is the hope that youngsters including Sillinger, Yegor Chinakhov, Kent Johnson, and Adam Boqvist can continue to develop and contribute more.

It’s a difficult start to the season, with the defending Metropolitan Division champion followed by the defending Eastern Conference champion. These games are a pop quiz which will reveal just how far this team has come, and how much farther they have to go.

Player to Watch

Johnny Gaudreau

Too obvious? Gaudreau shocked the hockey world on the first day of free agency as he chose to sign a long term deal in Columbus, seemingly out of the blue. (He rises?) That seven year, $68.25 million contract is the most lucrative in franchise history. That price tag and Gaudreau’s career-high 115 points last season set the bar really high for what he will be expected to deliver.

If he is to come anywhere close to that mark, it will be with the assistance of Laine, his probable linemate on the top line. They showed immediate chemistry in three preseason games. Hopefully that translates to the regular season better than the ill-fated Saad/Johansen/Foligno line in 2015.

For more on Gaudreau, read this profile from Jeff Svoboda at BlueJackets.com

Jackets Notes

Veteran goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is on the injured list as he recovers from hip surgery ... Based on practices on Monday and Tuesday, expect Kent Johnson, Liam Foudy, and Nick Blankenburg to be healthy scratches ... Tonight will mark the Blue Jackets debut for Gaudreau, Erik Gudbranson, and Mathieu Olivier.

The Other Bench

The Hurricanes won their division the last two seasons, and are heavily favored to make it three-in-a-row this season. But can they get past the second round for the first time since 2019? ... They acquired two talented veterans for little cost over the summer: forward Max Pacioretty and defenseman Brent Burns. Unfortunately Pacioretty suffered an Achilles injury over the summer and is out for at least the first half of the season. Burns is past his prime, but could benefit from a change of scenery ... Forward Derek Stepan and defenseman Calvin DeHaan earned contracts after coming to camp on a tryout basis.

Season Series

10/12/2022 CBJ @ CAR
01/07/2023 CAR @ CBJ
01/12/2023 CAR @ CBJ

2021-22 Stats

Carolina Columbus
3.38 (9) GPG 3.15 (14)
2.44 (1) GAPG 3.62 (28)
22.0% (13) PP% 18.6% (24)
88.0% (1) PK% 78.6% (20)
56.1% (2) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.7% (23)
55.6% (2) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.7% (25)
8.7 (11) 5v5 Shooting % 9.1 (7)
.920 (8) 5v5 Save % .909 (24)
Sebastian Aho, 37 G Leader (Oliver Bjorkstrand, 28) Patrik Laine, 26
Sebastian Aho, 44 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 56
Sebastian Aho, 81 P Leader Jake Voracek, 62
(Ian Cole, 83) Andrei Svechnikov 79 PIM Leader Vladislav Gavrikov, 68
29-8-4 Home / Road 16-23-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Johnny Gaudreau Boone Jenner Patrik Laine
Yegor Chinakhkov Jack Roslovic Jake Voracek
Gus Nyquist Cole Sillinger Justin Danforth
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Zach Werenski Adam Boqvist
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Jake Bean Erik Gudbranson
Elvis Merzlikins
Daniil Tarasov
Carolina Hurricanes
Teuovo Teravainen Sebastian Aho Seth Jarvis
Andrei Svechnikov Jesperi Kotaniemi Martin Necas
Paul Stastny Jordan Staal Jesper Fast
Stefan Noesen Jack Drury Ondrej Kase
Jaccob Slavin Brent Burns
Brady Skjei Brett Pesce
Calvin De Haan Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen
Antti Raanta