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Skate Report: Korpisalo to start in L.A. for new-look Jackets

Captain Nick Foligno to return, veteran Thomas Vanek to debut for Columbus; Sedlak sits

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider /

LOS ANGELES - Sergei Bobrovsky is getting a night off against the Los Angeles Kings for two main reasons, rest and practice.

Bobrovsky went 3-2-1 during a six-game starting stretch, including wins against the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals in the past two, but it will be Joonas Korpisalo who faces face the Kings on Thursday at Staple Center (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Ohio, 97.1 FM).

"It gives 'Bob' three days [without playing a game], and today, we're not even using him in the optional skate," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "It's a work day for him and [Clark] today. It just worked out this is the way we wanted to do it, because we not only get him a rest, in coming out West on the trip, but it gets a good, solid work day for him too."

Bobrovsky is expected to get back in net Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in the conclusion of a back-to-back set to begin a three game, seven-day road trip to the West coast.

"There's a couple situations in our schedule now where we [can] get him three days, and that's how we're going to try to get it done here," Tortorella said.

Korpisalo's last NHL appearance was a start Feb. 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. He allowed five goals on 27 shots in that game, which the Leafs won 6-3 to prevent Columbus from winning its third straight game.

The Blue Jackets (32-26-5) are again seeking a third straight victory, something they haven't done since November. Korpisalo is looking to bounce back from some tough games in three of his past four outings for Columbus, after allowing 15 goals on 136 shots for an .890 save percentage in his last four starts.

Captain Nick Foligno skated and will make his return after missing four games with a lower-body injury, while veteran Thomas Vanek will make his Blue Jackets debut after being acquired in a trade Monday with the Vancouver Canucks prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Lukas Sedlak, who's been a lineup regular as the fourth-line center, will be a healthy scratch for the second time this season. The Jackets' fourth line will start out with Booner Jenner at left wing, recently-acquired Mark Letestu at center and Matt Calvert on the right wing.

It's evidence that additions made at the deadline have upped the internal competition level quite a bit for Columbus.

"I sense they're looking over their shoulder, some of the guys that have played here forever," Tortorella said. "It's been a year, let's face it, that we have really struggled to grab ahold of getting a fourth line going. A lot of our fourth-line players are guys that are still in the process of becoming National Hockey Leaguers and stick in the National Hockey League. I think we have that now. I think that's something we've missed this year, a little bit, just the healthy competition within the lineup."

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