Morning Skate: Preseason vs. Minnesota

Sunday, 09.22.2013 / 9:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS vs. MINNESOTA WILD
  NATIONWIDE ARENA | 7 P.M.
LIVE BLOG | RADIO STREAM


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The sixth game of an eight-game exhibition schedule for the Blue Jackets takes place tonight at Nationwide Arena, and just as he said he would, coach Todd Richards is approaching the preseason with a purpose. Columbus is expected to dress a lineup filled with veterans and "regular" players tonight against the Minnesota Wild, and that roster includes No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who was solid between the pipes in the Blue Jackets' 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Nevermind their record of 4-1-0 to this point. The Blue Jackets, regardless of result, have to be pleased with the play of their top players. Many of those players are in the lineup tonight, while the Wild is bringing a relatively youthful group to Columbus. 

Here are complete rosters for tonight's 7 p.m. ET start at Nationwide Arena...

COLUMBUS
Forwards: Anisimov, Atkinson, Bass, Chaput, Comeau, Craig, Dubinsky, Foligno, Gaborik, Jenner, MacKenzie, Skille

Defense: Erixon, Johnson, Murray, Prout, Tyutin, Wisniewski

Goaltenders: Bobrovsky, McKenna

MINNESOTA
Forwards: Zucker, Mitchell, Dowell, Brodziak, Niederreiter, Cooke, McMillan, Steckel, Fontaine, Graovac, Foucault, Haula, Phillips

Defense: Ballard, Stoner, Blum, Prosser, Landry, Kampfer, Dumba

Goaltenders: Harding, Kuemper




Richards said after Sunday's practice that he was happy with the pace and intensity his team played with in Pittsburgh. Both he and the players said it felt like a regular season game right off the bat, with a couple of early hits and some nastiness after the whistles to jump-start it. 

The Blue Jackets went into St. Paul last week and, thanks to a stellar performance in goal from Jeremy Smith, came away with a 3-1 win that included equally strong efforts from their younger players. Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson and others played well in Minnesota and helped the Blue Jackets get above the .500 mark in preseason play. 

For Columbus, it's now about ramping up to full speed with the regular season fewer than a dozen days away. They need to settle on not just line combinations, but a final roster that still needs 10 cuts before they're good to go. Those on the bubble have a couple of opportunities left to state their case, and those on the outside looking in are running out of time. The Blue Jackets are facing a young Minnesota lineup tonight at Nationwide Arena, but one full of NHL hopefuls that head coach Mike Yeo will have a watchful eye on throughout. 

Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to play the full game, Richards said, and he will make one more preseason start after tonight (likely Thursday at home against Carolina). 

One item of particular interest: does the Jenner-Dubinsky-Gaborik trio remain intact for a third consecutive game? After another impressive showing in Pittsburgh, it'll be hard to split them up. Dubinsky had a four-point game, Gaborik chipped in a couple of assists and Jenner tallied the game-winning goal in the third period. If that's the case and they stay together, the next thing to watch is how the lines fill in beneath them. Artem Anisimov is likely to anchor the No. 2 line, but his linemates are anything but settled upon. 




AT BUFFALO SABRES
FIRST NIAGARA CENTER
WEDNESDAY, 7 P.M.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Dubinsky 4 1 5 1 6
J. Johnson 4 3 2 1 5
R. Johansen 4 2 3 0 5
B. Jenner 4 2 2 -2 4
M. Calvert 4 2 1 3 3
D. Savard 4 0 3 2 3
M. Letestu 4 1 1 -1 2
C. Atkinson 4 1 1 2 2
J. Wisniewski 4 0 2 -4 2
A. Anisimov 4 0 2 -1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 2 2 0 .900 3.22
 
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