GAME 53: BLUE JACKETS VS. CANUCKS
NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM
SETTING THE STAGE: Fresh off a big overtime win at Joe Louis Arena, the Blue Jackets are staring a tremendous opportunity right in the face.
They have a season-long seven-game home stand on tap, beginning with Thursday's game at Nationwide Arena. And while it appears to be another chance to bank some points and identify a key bubble of games as they did before Christmas, John Tortorella was quick to point out that he's not thinking about seven in a row at home - he's thinking about one in a row.
He categorized Tuesday's win in Detroit as a "better" performance on the whole, a game in which the Blue Jackets were blitzed out of the gate but settled in later in the first period and dominated for long stretches at even strength. They had all four lines going, including Brandon Dubinsky's line, which scored twice (again) and was the most effective line on the ice for either team. Tortorella has been waiting for that line to consistently produce for a while, and now it's not just Cam Atkinson that's finding the net.
Their next test is a Vancouver Canucks team on the fringe of the playoff race, but one that knows time is of the essence particularly with the trade deadline looming. The Canucks kicked off a lengthy road trip with a loss in Nashville on Tuesday, and come to Columbus looking to split the season series against the Blue Jackets; if you'll recall, the Blue Jackets won in overtime at Rogers Arena back in December, clinching a 500th career win for Tortorella.
NOTEWORTHY NEWS: David Savard (back) has been skating on his own in recent days, though no time table has been offered on a potential return. Josh Anderson left Tuesday's game after a hit to the head and did not return, and so his status for Thursday appears to be in question. Oliver Bjorkstrand was recalled from Cleveland on emergency basis if Anderson cannot play. Tortorella will address the lineup and the team's starting goaltender prior to Thursday's game.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Saad - Wennberg - Foligno
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Calvert - Karlsson - Bjorkstrand**
Hartnell - Sedlak - Gagner
Werenski - Jones
Murray - Johnson
Harrington - Nutivaara
**Anderson (injury) could miss Thursday's game.