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Game Day: Blue Jackets continue preseason in Boston

Columbus plays its third of eight tune-ups at TD Garden on Monday

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

Call it a sneak preview of opening night if you want (you don't have to).

The Blue Jackets and Bruins meet Monday night at TD Garden about three weeks out from their first official game of the season, which is Oct. 13 at Nationwide Arena.

For Columbus, it's already the third exhibition tune-up in two days, giving John Tortorella and his coaching staff ample opportunity to see a large group of players in action.

In the first few days of training camp, Tortorella has tried to get his players in "game mode" as quickly as possible. The four groups have held highly-competitive, intense scrimmages and gone through rigorous skating drills to test their conditioning and simulate game action - so it's safe to say there has been no wading into camp.

And that's all according to plan.

By the end of camp, in the final preseason games, the Blue Jackets want to balance the rosters between players who deserve another opportunity to make an impression, and also experiment with line combinations and established guys.

These early preseason games present a chance to get the majority of the 66 players in training camp into a game. Some of the lineups will feature veteran players (usually the home games) and others will be more youthful and inexperienced, but that's part of the evaluation process.

In St. Louis on Sunday, there were some good things shown by young players and also by the veterans.

Leading the way was the Scott Hartnell - Sam Gagner - Cam Atkinson line, which was responsible for all three Columbus goals. Gagner finished with a goal and two assists and seemed to mesh well with those two line mates.

It's quite possible the Blue Jackets will try out a few more potential line combinations and defense pairs in Boston tonight as they continue to ramp up to opening night.

Where to watch: NHL Network (U.S.), beginning at 7 pm ET

Where to listen: 1460 ESPN Columbus,, CBJ App

Lineups: TBA

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