Game 8 (X) Preview: Final Tune Up

The Jackets close out their exhibition schedule without Ryan Johansen, as the Predators come calling.

Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 7:00 EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Opponents' Blog: On The Forecheck
TV: Streamed via Team Website

Well, this is it, in terms of the pre-season. The games start counting for real on Thursday. And yet, when you look at the Jackets' lineup tonight, you might be confused. Isn't the last pre-season game a "tune up" for the "final" roster? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that these are the lines we might see on Thursday, and no because there are still some decisions to be made before the final cuts.

"Camp's not over," coach Todd Richards said. "We still have to play this game tonight, and there are lots of things we want to accomplish in this game. We want to finish the right way. We want to continue to get better. We still have to make decisions.

"It's still evaluation, still guys we're looking at, young players. We have to make decisions up at those forward positions."

All three 2013 first round picks will be in the lineup tonight. Notably absent are Jerry D'Amigo and Brian Gibbons. The team listed Corey Tropp in the line rushes this morning, but The Dispatch is reporting that Tropp will sit. Gibbons has missed practice with an undisclosed injury, and the timing on that for him is pretty unfortunate, especially with the success that Marko Dano and Alexander Wennberg displayed the other night. Both D'Amigo and Gibbons have two-way deals and can go to Springfield, but they'd have to clear waivers first.

Porty also noted that Ryan Murray is skating and doing drills, but that the team is mum on whether or not he can take contact. He won't play tonight, and his status for Thursday is still very much unclear.

At any rate, here's the lineup for tonight:

Marko Dano Artem Anisimov Scott Hartnell
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Mark Letestu Alexander Wennberg
Kerby Rychel Michael Chaput Corey Tropp / Jared Boll
Tim Erixon James Wisniewski
Jack Johnson David Savard
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

I'm embarrassed to admit that I cannot find a Predators' roster for tonight just about anywhere. Even their team's website only listed participants in a morning skate, and noted that they will be tinkering with line combinations throughout the game. It should be noted that their roster is down to just 25 players, so it should be pretty close to final (though they have 16 forwards, so...). We do know that Pekka Rinne will start, though he may not play the entire game. Columbus expects Bobrovsky to go the distance tonight.

Enjoy the game!

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