GAME BLOG: Blue Jackets vs. Flames
8:40 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: That period was all too familiar. The Blue Jackets got back on their heels in the second period and let the Flames bring the game to them, and the end result is probably the best-case scenario with a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes. Shots were 12-8 Columbus after the first period, but the Flames out-shot the Blue Jackets by a 13-8 margin in the middle frame and spent several long shifts inside the offensive zone. If not for Sergei Bobrovsky -- who was very sharp in the second period and has been throughout -- this could be an entirely different hockey game. One thing of note: it wasn't a very physical second period and a lot of that has to do with the Blue Jackets playing a lot of defense and just trying to exit their own end; as we mentioned after the first period, the Flames want to bring second and third waves of attackers and they were allowed to in the second.
7:45 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets gave up an early goal on a re-direction by Roman Cervenka, but their bounce back was pretty good. Calgary showed it's ready to play a "get up and go" style tonight, which isn't too surprising given the man behind their bench (Bob Hartley), but the Blue Jackets did well in sniffing it out with active sticks in the neutral zone and limiting the Flames' speed on the breakout. They tied the game just 25 seconds after the Flames goal, and it was Matt Calvert making a skilled play with the puck after a feed from Vinny Prospal. Calvert dragged the puck inside and snapped it past a Flames defenseman and Leland Irving to shake off the goal they gave up and get going in the right direction. Columbus took advantage of its first power play by cashing in with a beautiful goal; Derick Brassard faked a shot in the right circle and feathered a pass across the box to Mark Letestu, who was locked and loaded for the one-timer and a 2-1 lead for the Blue Jackets.
1:15 P.M. -- Almost on cue, we meet up with Letestu to chat about his role in the Blue Jackets lineup, facing the Flames and more. The full interview can be seen below:
1:00 P.M. -- Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno met up with Bob McElligott to talk about tonight's game with Calgary. Check out their conversation on Jackets TV:
12:00 P.M. -- Todd Richards confirmed that Mark Letestu (his "utility guy") moves up to center Vinny Prospal and Matt Calvert tonight. Letestu and Prospal played together for parts of last season and Richards liked how they worked together, and part of the move is a reward for Letestu's strong play of late.
11:30 A.M. -- Sergei Bobrovsky is the starter tonight for the Blue Jackets, and he faces rookie Leland Irving for Calgary. It's been confirmed that Nikita Nikitin is back in the lineup, and David Savard appears to be a healthy scratch on defense.
10:30 A.M. -- Players are trickling off the ice as the morning skate wraps up. The CBJ lens captured some moments from this morning's brief skate:
10:10 A.M. -- It doesn't appear that we will see any shakeups in the Blue Jackets' forwards lines tonight. Here's how they are skating this morning:
Brassard - Dubinsky - Foligno
Umberger - Brassard - Dorsett
Calvert - Letestu - Prospal
Gillies - MacKenzie - Boll
10:00 A.M. -- The morning skate is under way, and it looks as if Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in goal tonight vs. the Flames. He's occupying the usual starter's net in practice.
9:45 A.M. -- Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards talked about the need for Johansen to "get his game back" upon returning to Springfield, and he referred to past experiences in his own career to make a point. Read more about it in yesterday's story on the CBJ Today.
9:30 A.M. -- Good morning and happy game day! We're back at Nationwide Arena and the Blue Jackets are getting set to take on the Calgary Flames later on this evening. It's a big game for both teams, too; the Flames are coming off a win in Detroit two nights ago and looking to get headed in the right direction after a slow start, and the Blue Jackets are looking to level their record on this six-game home stand.
We don't yet know the identity of the Blue Jackets' starting goaltender tonight, but we do know Leland Irving will be between the pipes for Calgary. Miikka Kiprusoff is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury suffered in Detroit, and he's out for this game. The Flames signed Danny Taylor, a one-time Springfield Falcon, to a one-year deal yesterday to serve as Irving's backup while Kiprusoff recovers.
There was some news yesterday as the Blue Jackets assigned Ryan Johansen to Springfield, and they also expect Nikita Nikitin back in the lineup tonight.
While we wait for the morning skate to begin, let's check out the highlights from one of the meetings last season between the Flames and Blue Jackets: