The Winnipeg Jets visit Nationwide Arena tonight in a game that has both teams going in opposite directions. The Blue Jackets are gearing up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in franchise history, but are 0-3-1 in their past 4 games. The Jets, meanwhile, are riding a season high five-game win streak, but are out of playoff contention.
With a Stanley Cup Playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins now confirmed, a Columbus win tonight keeps the hope for Round 1 home ice alive. The Penguins visit fellow Metropolitan Division opponent New Jersey tonight with just three points separating Columbus and Pittsburgh in the standings.
When Sonny Milano got the call on Tuesday and immediately slotted in to the Jackets' lineup something had to give. Matt Calvert sat out in Pittsburgh, but head coach John Tortorella made it clear it wasn't because of his play.
"Calvy gets sat out not for any particular reason as far as a flaw in his game," Tortorella said. "We have a young kid that has played really well down in the minors. I had to take a player out, and Calvy was it. I don't want it misconstrued that he's out because of struggles."
Video: Torts on defensive chemistry, lineup changes
Torts is looking to Calvert to provide a spark to a struggling Jackets offense, something the forward is well aware of headed into tonight's game.
"With our team, we score by committee and we have a lot of guys that help out," Calvert said. "That's how we won games at the start of the year, from first line to fourth line we were scoring. A lot of guys are in slumps, but we're just going to keep having some fun and not grip the sticks too tight."
Video: Calvy on getting back in the lineup tonight
Tortorella noted that Milano might see action in one of the final two regular season games this weekend in hopes of making roster decisions come playoff time.
Columbus kid debuts at home
An added wrinkle to tonight's game is the NHL debut of Columbus native Jack Roslovic. The 20-year-old Jets forward got word from coach Paul Maurice that he'll be in the lineup tonight making his debut against the team he grew up watching. Roslovic is an Ohio AAA Blue Jackets alumnus and spent one year with Miami University as well as leading AHL Manitoba in scoring (13-32-45) in 61 games this season.
Video: PREGAME | Jack Roslovic
Werenski remains out
Zach Werenski did not participate in this morning's skate, leaving his status unknown for the weekend's back-to-back games away from home. Tortorella noted his status as day-to-day on Tuesday.