Game Preview #6(x): Blue Jackets vs. Wild

It's a return trip to Columbus for the Wild, after the Jackets knocked them off 3-1 in Minnesota last week.

Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets

September 23, 2013 - 7:00pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WWCD 102.5 FM - TV - None
Opponents Blog: Hockey Wilderness
SBNation Game Page

Fresh off another nice win in Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Jackets play their sixth game of an eight game exhibition schedule tonight at home against the Wild. This is the second matchup (in what is a theme this pre-season) of the pre-season between these two, with Columbus taking the first game last week up in St. Paul.

Sergei Bobrovsky is going to start again (in part because we're getting close to crunch time, and in part because of the injury to Curtis McElhinney), coming off a rousing third period performance on Saturday against Pittsburgh in which he held the door shut against an onslaught of shots.

And, to be frank, this is a game the Jackets should win handily, when one looks at the lineups being iced tonight. To say the Wild are, how you say, mailing it in would be an understatement. Somehow they've cobble together enough "regulars" to meet requirements, but if you're going down to the game with any expectations of seeing Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, or Niklas Backstrom, well... you're going to be disappointed.

In some good news for the Jackets, Dalton Prout is back in the lineup after tearing his abdominal muscle this summer. When hearing Prout talk about what this injury actually *was* (think: attachment tissue of muscle to pelvic bone TEARING OFF OF PELVIC BONE) and realizing that he's going to play tonight... wow. I want to know who his doctor is and what kind of vitamins he takes.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-1-0 in pre-season)
Note: These lines are my hunches based on previous lineups this pre-season

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Marian Gaborik
Cam Atkinson Artem Anisimov Nick Foligno
Michael Chaput Ryan Craig Jack Skille
Blake Comeau Derek MacKenzie Cody Bass
James Wisniewski Ryan Murray
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Tim Erixon Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Mike McKenna

Minnesota Wild
(2-1-0 in pre-season)

Jason Zucker Torrey Mitchell Jake Dowell
Kyle Brodziak Nino Niederreiter Matt Cooke
David Steckel Carson McMillan Justin Fontaine
Tyler Graovac Kristopher Foucault Erik Haula

Extra: Zack Phillips

Keith Ballard Clayton Stoner
Jonathon Blum Nate Prosser
Jon Landry Steven Kampfer

Extra: Mathew Dumba

Josh Harding
Darcy Kuemper

Game Notes

  • My hunch is that Todd Richards keeps Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marian Gaborik together. To say they've been good together would be an understatement. For the 20-year-old Jenner, this camp has been everything he could have hoped it would be, and he's legitimately pushing for a roster spot.
  • I'm curious to see how tentative Dalton Prout may be tonight. There's always that mental hurdle coming back from injury, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that the specter of Matt Cooke in the lineup for the Wild didn't terrify me, since that's the kind of line I expect Prout's pair to see a lot of tonight.
  • Can the Jackets keep from getting out-shot by such a crazy margin? Saturday was rough, in that the Jackets allowed Bobrovsky to face 41 shots, and the Jackets were outshot 41-23. That was the Penguins, yes, but as good as Bob was last season, it's not a recipe for success.

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