GAME 41: BLUE JACKETS AT LIGHTNING
AMALIE ARENA, 8 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM
SETTING THE STAGE: At the completion of tonight's game, the Blue Jackets will be at the halfway point of their regular season schedule. They'll be on pace for at least 120 points regardless of the result, but as has been the case all season long, they aren't particularly interested in the macro-level approach or in looking at the big picture.
More than ever, the Blue Jackets need to rely on their 'day by day' mentality. In the midst of a challenging portion of the schedule, they're coming off a stretch of three regulation losses in four games after their 16-game winning streak was halted in Washington, and now have a back-to-back this weekend in Florida, beginning Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Columbus had success in its first two meetings with Tampa Bay: the Blue Jackets scored five goals in both wins (Nov. 25 at Amalie Arena and Nov. 29 at Nationwide Arena), but the Bolts will be charged up (no pun intended) for this game, which will begin with the jersey retirement of long-time Lightning forward and Stanley Cup champion Martin St. Louis. The ceremony will feature remarks from Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who coached St. Louis in Tampa and won the Cup with him in 2004.
Originally slated for a 7:30 p.m. start, the game will instead begin at 8 p.m. to allot time for the ceremony. Just a heads-up: pre-game warmups will begin AFTER the ceremony concludes.
NOTEWORTHY NEWS: The Blue Jackets got some good news at practice on Thursday afternoon. Both Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Calvert, who missed Tuesday's game in Raleigh due to illness, were back on the ice and are expected to play Friday against the Lightning.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Saad - Wennberg - Atkinson
Hartnell - Dubinsky - Foligno
Jenner - Karlsson - Anderson
Calvert - Sedlak - Gagner
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Murray - Nutivaara