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Blue Jackets look to rebound on home ice against Winnipeg

Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 10:57 PM

Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer)

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Blue Jackets look to rebound on home ice against Winnipeg
Winnipeg Jets vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Let's start with the goaltending situation: Richards confirmed after Sunday's optional practice that Mike McKenna will make a second consecutive start for the Blue Jackets, and also deemed Curtis McElhinney "very doubtful" to suit up. That means Jeremy Smith remains as the backup goaltender for at least tonight's game against Winnipeg.

The Blue Jackets recalled Jack Skille (again) from Springfield on Sunday with Nick Foligno deemed questionable for Monday's game. Even though Foligno is "questionable," Richards sounded fairly confident that he'd be able to play against the Jets.

James Wisniewski is eligible to return from injured reserve on Monday but it's not yet known whether he will be cleared to play. He has been practicing with the team lately and could return at some point this week.

The Blue Jackets and Jets have traded places in the Eastern and Western Conferences, and thus, have not seen each other since November 2011 at Nationwide Arena, a game the Jackets won by a final of 2-1 in what was a tight-checking, physical affair.

This time around, we have two teams coming off disappointing losses but the Jets are seriously banged up. They'll be without versatile forward Matt Halischuk, who suffered a forearm fracture in Saturday's loss to the Dallas Stars, and also tough guy Anthony Peluso, who was suspended three games for an illegal hit on Dallas' Alex Goligoski.

And this might sound familiar, but the Jets have been plagued by inconsistency this season and have not been able to string wins together. They're 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference but have one more point (33) than the Blue Jackets, who sit three points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Here are tonight's dueling team scopes from NHL.com...

Jets: This begins a stretch of five games in eight days for Winnipeg, four of them away from home. The Jets spent their most recent game, Saturday afternoon against the Dallas Stars, trying to play catch-up, and that eventually caught up to them. After rallying from three one-goal deficits, the Jets gave up two goals late in the second period, and another early in the third, en route to a 6-4 loss. Ondrej Pavelec gave up five goals and was lifted for Al Montoya to start the third.

"What I say doesn't matter," said a frustrated Blake Wheeler, who scored twice. "It's what you do out on the ice. You can blow smoke as much as you want out in the media; we've been blowing smoke for three years. [I] and everyone who has stood in front of a microphone for three years, we've said the same [words]."

Blue Jackets: The biggest challenge right now for Columbus might be keeping a goaltender healthy. Curtis McElhinney was playing well in place of the injured Sergei Bobrovsky before he had to leave a game this past Thursday against the New York Rangers with a lower-body injury. Mike McKenna finished out that win and got his first NHL start in more than three years Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. Johansen had a power-play goal to put the Blue Jackets ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes, but the Blues stormed back to deal them a 4-3 overtime defeat.

"I thought our effort was there," forward Brandon Dubinsky said. "Obviously we're disappointed and we need to be better to get a better result, which means eliminate some of the mistakes we made."


2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 11 '14 CBJ 6 at WPG 3 B. Jenner
Dec 16 '13 WPG 3 at CBJ 2 E. Kane
B. Little35141731+22431
B. Wheeler35111425-62040
D. Byfuglien3561824-134040
A. Ladd3581523+22210
O. Jokinen3581321-52201
M. Frolik3481119+1411
D. Setoguchi3471017+51012
E. Kane278816+02703
M. Scheifele354913+0611
G. Clitsome312911-51400
T. Enstrom352810-42200
M. Halischuk30347-1401
J. Trouba18156-5900
M. Stuart23145+31900
Z. Bogosian21134+81400
E. Tangradi26123-31100
K. Ellerby18123+4010
C. Thorburn25033-11800
A. Peluso16101-22400
J. Albert7101-2000
J. Wright35011+0400
A. Pardy17011+41800
J. Slater8011-2000
P. Postma8000+0600
P. Cormier3000+0700
Z. Redmond3000-2000
B. Chiarot1000-3000
O. Pavelec2710-13-4768352.85.909
A. Montoya105-2-1202512.23.920
R. Johansen34121527-21440
B. Dubinsky2861521+26621
N. Foligno289918+44724
R. Umberger3481018-21433
J. Wisniewski2821618+22700
C. Atkinson349817-51213
A. Anisimov349514-6610
F. Tyutin3141014-41810
M. Gaborik175611+1600
M. Letestu3411011-4610
M. Calvert15448+41900
D. Savard26178+21201
R. Murray34347+3620
B. Comeau34257-61700
J. Johnson34257-122420
N. Nikitin27156-21001
B. Jenner24325-41820
D. MacKenzie28213-51100
J. Skille7202+2200
D. Prout24022-72900
C. Tropp18022-6900
J. Boll21101-63800
M. Chaput17011+0200
S. Collins6011+1000
R. Craig3000-2000
T. Erixon1000+1000
S. Bobrovsky2310-11-2596462.72.909
C. McElhinney124-4-1222992.26.926
M. McKenna30-1-18813.02.901
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