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Preview: Strike Lightning Twice?

After a grueling week, the Blue Jackets finally got multiple days off. Let’s hope they made the most of the time and are rested and energized for this one. They came up big in the third period with goals from Brandon Saad and Cam Atkinson to clinch a key road win. You’d have to think Tampa will be motivated to respond.

Former Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards will make his return to Nationwide Arena tonight. Expect a video tribute in the first period. I hope he receives a warm welcome from the Fifth Line. I thought his firing was justified but I’m also very appreciative of what he accomplished as head coach here.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the start in goal for the Lightning. This is a change from Friday’s lineup. Vasilevskiy has been superior to Ben Bishop, and in fact leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average (1.50) and save percentage (.951). It will be important to get plenty of shots on goal to get some past him. Can we stop facing these great goalies, please?

Roster News: Columbus traded Cody Goloubef to Colorado for another AHL defenseman, Ryan Stanton. This deal saves some money, as Stanton is on a two-way contract. As far as on-ice impact, this is additional AHL depth and nothing more. If Stanton gets time in Columbus, it will be because of multiple injuries on the blue line.

Projected Lineups

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Markus Hannikainen Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney
Alex Killorn Vladislav Namestnikov Nikita Kucherov
Brayden Point Tyler Johnson Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat Valtteri Filppula Jonathan Drouin
Cedric Paquette Brian Boyle
Victor Hedman Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov Braydon Coburn
Jason Garrison Slater Koekkoek/Luke Witkowski
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Ben Bishop