As relieving and exciting as last night's 2-1 win over Dallas was, it is now a thing of the past.
The Blue Jackets, through some fog delays and a late arrival in St. Paul, have to turn the page and quickly get ready for a tangle with the Minnesota Wild tonight. It's an offensively-charged, fast-skating club on the other bench this evening, and once again, the Blue Jackets will have their improved checking game put to the test.
Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Devin Setoguchi, Mikael Granlund...there's no shortage of talent on Mike Yeo's club and there aren't any sluggish skaters in that group. They like to push the pace, get the puck moving up the ice and putting pucks on the target. Parise's the hot hand right now, riding a five-game scoring streak and leading the team with five goals in the first five games.
Yeo will start Niklas Backstrom in goal tonight; Backstrom holds a 9-5-1 lifetime record against the Blue Jackets with a 2.27 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. On the Columbus side, Steve Mason gets the nod in goal and he's 4-5-1 in his career against the Wild with a 2.76 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.
This is an interesting game for many reasons: can the Blue Jackets put three solid efforts together and get the desired result on back-to-back nights, and will they be able to slow down the Wild's top line?
Read the "three keys" to tonight's game inside this blog post.
Good afternoon, everyone. The Blue Jackets have arrived safely in St. Paul, Minn. and are getting ready to take on the Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center. After some travel delays (thanks, fog) that forced the team to fly out of Columbus this morning rather than last night, everyone's refreshed and ready to go for tonight's 8 p.m. ET puck drop.
Steve Mason gets the start in goal for the Blue Jackets, and he will oppose Niklas Backstrom in net for the Wild.
We're about two hours and 15 minutes from the opening face-off in Minnesota. Follow along inside this blog post for all the latest news!
Brandon Dubinsky is quickly becoming one of the Blue Jackets’ go-to players in clutch situations.
His five full seasons with the New York Rangers consisted of 31 playoff games, and that experience is something he frequently relies on. Since joining the Blue Jackets over the summer, he’s wanted to be one of the players on the ice protecting a lead in the third period and also one of the players charged with finding the tying goal.
Though the offense hasn’t arrived yet for the 26-year-old center (one assist in the first six games), his impact is noticeable. Dubinsky began the 2012-13 season playing the wing on a line with Artem Anisimov and Derek Dorsett, but has since switched back to the middle to center a unit with Derick Brassard and Matt Calvert.
In last night’s 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena, Dubinsky played one of his strongest and most impactful games with Columbus. He logged 19:36 – second most among Blue Jackets forwards – with most of them coming in the third period and on the penalty kill.
And for a young Blue Jackets club that’s still seeking a complete, 60-minute performance, Dubinsky’s “winning time” minutes provide a prime example of what’s expected every single night.Read the full story by clicking inside this blog post.
I figured the Dallas Stars would have a little extra jump tonight after Jamie Benn's immigration paperwork was cleared, and the big center was a "go" for his season debut. He's the Stars' best player and a huge part of their lineup, so I was expecting a tenacious start from the visitors.
And sure enough, they brought it. The Blue Jackets, on a four-game skid entering tonight, didn't start this game with the same vigor as they showed Saturday night against the Blackhawks but they steadily got better as the game grew older. For a change, they got to play the majority of the third period in the lead and used their team-checking approach to wear down the Stars and close out the win.
Kari Lehtonen was excellent and probably deserved a better fate, but I thought Sergei Bobrovsky was equally strong in the Columbus net. He was big in the first period when the Blue Jackets were a tad ragged, and dialed up the most crucial stop of the game on Michael Ryder in the third period.
Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin did some yeomen work on the penalty kill and at even strength, ensuring that the Blue Jackets spent very little time inside their own end. The breakouts were on-point, they kept the puck out of danger (for the most part) and Tyutin provided the nice set-up pass for Derek Dorsett's game-tying goal.
Read Rob's breakdown of tonight's CBJ victory inside this blog post.
This is a big one, folks.
It's not typically in Todd Richards' nature to declare a certain game a "must win," and he stopped just short of saying that after this morning's skate at Nationwide Arena. But given the circumstances with the Blue Jackets right now (a four-game winless skid) and the urgency to get things turned around quickly, Richards acknowledged that tonight's game is extremely important.
As a result, I expect the Blue Jackets to play with a little added urgency tonight. They played a sound game two nights ago against the Chicago Blackhawks but that's now in the rear-view mirror. Dallas is an entirely different opponent and one that got a big boost this afternoon with the immigration clearance of Jamie Benn, the Stars' No. 1 center and one of the league's burgeoning young stars.
Kari Lehtonen gets the start in goal for Dallas, and he's got some stellar career numbers against the Blue Jackets: 5-3-1 lifetime with a 1.78 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. Not bad...not bad at all.
Sergei Bobrovsky is the starting goalie tonight for the Blue Jackets.
Check out Rob's "three keys" to success inside this blog post.
Good morning and happy game day, everyone. I'm here inside a warm and cozy Nationwide Arena (at least it'll be warm until I go down to the ice) and ready to rock with the latest game day blog.
The Dallas Stars are in town tonight to face the Blue Jackets, and they've got a mixed bag of results in the early stages of the season. Dallas is 2-2-1 in its first five games and has lost two straight, and tonight marks the start of a back-to-back set on the road. The Stars hit the road (in an airplane, but you catch my drift) to Detroit immediately after tonight's game and will take on the Red Wings on Tuesday at The Joe.
This should be an entertaining game. I've had the chance to watch the Stars play a few games this year and they can skate, move the puck, and there's a ton of skill at forward. That Kari Lehtonen guy isn't bad between the pipes, either; he's only 5-3-1 with a career 1.78 GAA and .940 save percentage. Here's hoping the Blue Jackets can put a dent in that stellar track record tonight.
The morning skate is under way, so check inside this blog post for all the latest news and updates as they happen!
Alright, let's put the finishing touches on this puppy.
The Blue Jackets and Blackhawks played a game tonight that started dull, hit a crescendo with a controversial disallowed goal in the second period, and culminated in a thrilling last-minute push by the home side. In the end, Chicago skated away with its fifth straight win to open this abbreviated NHL season, and the Blue Jackets are now winless in their last four.
Let's not dwell on the negatives, though, especially considering the Blue Jackets put together a solid team game against one of the most talented clubs in the business. They did pretty much everything they needed to get the two points, but the final consequences will be debated for quite a while (just not in this blog).
Steve Mason made 21 saves and was very good, including a pair of big-time glove stops on Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp that happened to come at pivotal junctures of the game. The ice tilted back and forth on a number of occasions and neither team really grabbed momentum, and it made for an entertaining third period with Chicago hanging on to a one-goal lead.
Was this the Blue Jackets' best performance of the season? I'd lean that way, but the collective gusto they showed in the latter stages against Nashville was also impressive. They checked Chicago's top players hard, make them work for their space and played a physical brand of hockey that didn't put a smile on the visitors' faces. That's what you want from this team.
Read tonight's "Aftermath" inside this blog post.
Todd Richards was very candid this morning when discussing tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks: he said it's no secret the opponent is in top form right now, and it's going to be a challenge for the Blue Jackets to emerge with a victory.
That being said, he's not approaching the game as if it's David vs. Goliath or something mythical, but making sure all areas of concern are addressed prior to the game. For starters (no pun intended), Richards wants his club to start the game "on time" and avoid the mental lapses suffered in Nashville and Colorado, where they gave up goals on essentially the first shift.
Columbus has to begin tonight's game on its toes against a Blackhawks squad that's in high gear, or else they could get in hot water quickly. In four games this season, Chicago has scored 17 goals and has won games both from the lead and by rallying late -- including a stunner earlier this week in Dallas. Everything is in play and the Blue Jackets know this opponent very well, so there should be no surprises when it comes to game preparation this evening.
Steve Mason starts in goal for the Blue Jackets, and he faces Corey Crawford in net for Chicago.
Check out tonight's "three keys" to success inside this blog post.
The Blackhawks are coming off a come-from-behind overtime win against the Dallas Stars earlier in the week, and as of today, they hold a perfect 4-0-0 record and sit atop the division and the conference. Patrick Kane is on a tear to start the season, and most of the points are coming from setting up Marian Hossa's goals.
Kane has put up seven points in the first four games and Hossa has five goals, including the overtime winner in Dallas (off a gorgeous behind-the-back pass from Kane). Those two are really in-sync right now, and it's a challenge for any team to contain them.
Keep up with all of the news on game day -- including lineups, tonight's starting goaltenders, interviews with the coach and players, and a whole lot more. Follow along inside this blog post.
The Blue Jackets want to be a speedy, in-your-face team that is opportunistic with scoring chances and its opponents’ mistakes. When the puck drops tonight at Nationwide Arena, they will be facing the gold standard in that department.
After a long stretch of futility in the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks redefined themselves in the late 2000s and stockpiled a plethora of skilled players with high draft picks. They made calculated trades and free-agent signings to balance out their roster -- all geared toward massaging an identity that still befits them today.
They are one of the quickest teams in the NHL and can change the game in the blink of an eye. All four lines can get involved in the offense, and their young players drive the bus. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were the building blocks, and Chicago added players like Patrick Sharp (trade) and Marian Hossa (free agency) to mix finishers with table-setters.
Columbus is very familiar with this Blackhawks squad, and they have been involved in several memorable games over the years. The Blue Jackets clinched their first-ever playoff berth at the United Center in 2009, shaking off 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to tie the game and eventually win in a shootout – and that was one of the tamer get-togethers between these division rivals.
Read the rest of this story inside the blog post.