The Blue Jackets, after arriving home around midnight from Buffalo, were back on the ice for practice on Friday morning at Nationwide Arena.
It was a full group, too, including defenseman Ryan Murray, who continues to progress in his recovery from a knee injury. Friday’s skate marked the fourth straight day of full practicing for Murray, who hasn’t pinpointed a target date for a return but feels like he keeps getting nearer and nearer with each passing day.
“Every day it feels better,” he said after practice today. “And that’s really encouraging.”
Here are the Blue Jackets’ morning line combinations:
Calvert – Letestu – Dano
Foligno – Johansen – Atkinson
Hartnell – Anisimov – Wennberg
Skille – Chaput – Boll
Johnson – Savard
Erixon – Wisniewski
Tyutin – Prout
So, essentially, no changes from Thursday’s lineup and there aren’t expected to be any for opening night against the New York Rangers at Nationwide Arena.
Other tidbits from the rink today:
- The Rangers will start Cam Talbot in net against the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, per coach Alain Vigneault. The plan is for Henrik Lundqvist, who started the Rangers’ opener in St. Louis on Thursday, to get the start in their home opener (Sunday at Madison Square Garden).
- Richards was particularly fond of the way his young players fared in their 3-1 win over the Sabres. He had to make a couple of line changes just based on how the game was going, he said, but he really liked how the combinations turned out: “We’re the youngest team in the league, so we have a lot of those types of guys. But in particular, Wennberg and Dano did a very good job. (The line change) was because of power plays; we were using Wennberg, Anisimov and Hartnell, and they had the one extended shift on the power play – they just kept it in the zone for 1:20. They need a breather, and I put Dano and Matty Calvert out there…and they had a good shift. I figured let’s stick with this, because it seemed to be working pretty well and the combinations worked.”
- By our unscientific calculations, the Blue Jackets were responsible for 78 of the 117 total shot attempts in Thursday’s game, which would give them a rough Corsi number of about 66.7 percent (that’s pretty good). They owned the puck for the most part, and even if they weren’t entering the zone cleanly, they still managed to retrieve pucks on dump-ins and create chances off their forecheck.
- Here’s the coach on forechecking: “I thought we played a good ‘north’ game and we had a forecheck. We’re a good forechecking team, and by our calculations, we had about 40 forechecks throughout the game which is pretty good as far as dumping it and going after it, and then were able to get some turnovers and play in their zone. When you go back and watch, you can see we had zone time and that’s what you want, but we still have to get better at creating traffic and do a better job of getting pucks to the net.”