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Preview: Jackets look to set franchise mark for start against Jets

Columbus has never had 14 points after 10 games, and can split a four-game homestand with a win.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

GAME 10: JETS (4-3-1) AT BLUE JACKETS (6-3-0)

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M., FRIDAY

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO/FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM

The Blue Jackets have a chance to set a franchise record for points in the first 10 games of a season when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Nationwide Arena.

The Jackets, who will wear special lavender jerseys in warmups to represent the fight against cancer, are coming off a 5-1 win Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres - which tied a franchise record with 12 points through the first nine games.

They can set a new mark after 10 games with a win against the Jets. The current record is 13 points through 10 games, which was set in 2007-08 (6-3-1) and has only been done once.

The Blue Jackets will face a second straight opponent finishing up a back-to-back set, as the Winnipeg Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Penguis 2-1 on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. Buffalo came into the game Wednesday after a 1-0 win the night before against the Detroit Red Wings, and were looking to string together their third straight win.

Columbus broke out with three goals in a 2:59 span late in the second period in that one to end a two-game losing skid. The Blue Jackets are now 4-1-0 on home ice, where they're also perfect killing penalties (10-for-10).

Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 34 saves on 35 shots against the Sabres, will start for Columbus.

Steve Mason, a former Blue Jackets goalie, will start for Winnipeg. He hasn't played since facing Columbus on Oct. 17 at Bell MTS Place in Winipeg, allowing five goals on 39 shots in the Blue Jackets' 5-2 win.

SERIES RECORD

2017-18 Season: (1-0-0). This is the final meeting of the season. The Blue jackets won the first game 5-2 on Oct. 17 at Bell MTS Centre.

All-time: 12-11-0; 5-6-0 at Bell MTS Place

"BY THE NUMBERS"

  • 3.66: Difference in goals-against average separating the Jets' goalies, Hellebuyck (2.32) and Mason (5.98).
  • 8: Number of back-to-backs the Jets will play this season. This is their first. The Blue Jackets, by comparison, have 17. That includes three in October alone, with the third beginning against the Jets on Friday.
  • 9: Number of Blue Jackets who took face-offs in the game Wednesday against the Sabres.
  • 14: Number of goals Columbus has scored in the second period of games, which ranks second in the NHL. That's exactly as many as they've scored in the first and third periods combined, seven in each.
  • 161: Number of offensive-zone face-offs the Blue Jackets have taken through nine games. That ranks second in the league, behind only Buffalo's 176 in 11 games.

EYES ON: THE JETS

  • Veteran center Matt Hendricks made his debut with the Jets on Thursday against the Penguins, after missing the first seven games with a lower-body injury that happened in training camp. Hendricks, who signed with the Jets as a free agent this past offseason, is slated to center the fourth line. He will start out skating between rookie Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia.
  • Lemieux made his NHL debut last Friday in the Jets' 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild, playing 9:53. He is the son of Claude Lemieux, who played for six NHL teams and had 786 points (379 goals, 407 assists) in 1,215 games. The younger Lemieux is shifting on the fourth line, but has gotten some power-play time already as a net-front presence.
  • Center Adam Lowry (upper body) made the two-game trip with the Jets, but has been ruled out for both games. He's back skating on his own, but has missed four games with the injury.
  • Dmitry Kulikov is scheduled to return to the Jets' blue line against the Penguins. The third-pairing defenseman has missed the past two games for the Jets, including their loss to the Blue Jackets in Winnipeg.
  • Former Blue Jackets forward Marko Dano doesn't have a point in five games for the Jets this season, and is likely to be a healthy scratch in Pittsburgh, for the second straight game.

EYES ON: THE BLUE JACKETS

  • Columbus practiced Thursday using the same line combinations coach John Tortorella put together about halfway through the game against Buffalo on Wednesday, which helped spark three straight goals to open up a 4-0 lead. The changes feature at least a power forward, a skill forward and a two-way forward on each of the top three lines - including 6-foot-3, 221-pound Josh Anderson skating on the top line with captain Nick Foligno at center and Artemi Panarin at left wing. "You look around in the league, and you have a power forward playing with two skilled guys," Anderson said. "[Foligno's] a bit of both. He can grind and has good vision out there, so it's going to be really exciting."
  • Earlier this week, Tortorella decided to make a switch in his alternate captain setup. Veteran defenseman Jack Johnson had an 'A' added to his jersey, which had previously been worn for five years by center Brandon Dubinsky. Tortorella said the switch was about two things: awarding Johnson for being a longtime leader on the Blue Jackets and allowing Dubinsky to focus more on his individual game. Dubinsky is off to a slow start by his standards, with no goals and two assists in nine games.
  • The Blue Jackets have yet to allow a power-play goal on home ice this season. They're 10-for-10, including 1-for-1 against the Sabres on Wednesday. Meanwhile, they've scored a power-play goal in each of the past two games, going 2-for-5 after an 0-for-18 stretch.
  • Matt Calvert, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Foligno each have scored goals in the past two games for the Blue Jackets, who've scored four-or-more goals in four of their past five games - including three five-goal games.

FUN FACT

The Blue Jackets are one more assist by Panarin from having their third player in the span of 10 days reach 100 assists in their NHL careers. Seth Jones reached the milestone against Winnipeg in the first meeting this season, and Alexander Wennberg got there with an assist against Buffalo on Wednesday.

QUOTABLES

"I spent a month before the season stating we're going to have [Alexander Wennberg] married to [Panarin], and you've got to be very careful. Things look good on paper, but sometimes it just doesn't work on the ice. So, I like the way it settled. I thought when we changed the lines, it changed our game. As always, I'm going to watch it and try to stay with it, but I'm never going to be a coach to just sit there and watch us die on the vine with it either." - Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, on shaking up his line combinations

"It still drives me crazy he missed so much camp, and my conversations with Andy when this was going on … I think we were beginning to have an understanding. I think I was understanding him better, and I can see him as being a really good player in this league. He was stupid to take all that time off, but he's come back in, and he's earning what he's getting here." - Tortorella, on promoting Josh Anderson to the top line after the power forward missed the preseason because of a contract dispute.

"I mean, listen, I'm human. Obviously, it hurts a little bit to have that role taken away. I mean, for me to just say I don't really care would be a complete lie, and you guys know me better than that. Yeah, it was a tough conversation, without a doubt. But again, I owe it to my teammates to be who I am, the player this team needs me to be. So, I'm not going to let that affect me." - Blue jackets center Brandon Dubinsky on losing his role as an alternate captain

PROJECTED LINEUPS

JETS

Kyle Connor - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Patrik Laine

Brandon Tanev - Andrew Copp - Shawn Matthias

Brendan Lemieux - Matt Hendricks - Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey- Jacob Trouba

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov - Tyler Myers

Steve Mason

Connor Hellebuyck

Out: Ben Chiarot, Marko Dano, Tucker Poolman

Injured reserve: Adam Lowry (upper body), Mathieu Perreault (lower body

BLUE JACKETS

Artemi Panarin - Nick Foligno - Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Sonny Milano - Zac Dalpe - Pierre-Luc Dubois

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Out: Markus Hannikainen, Scott Harrington

Injured reserve: Gabriel Carlsson (undisclosed), Lukas Sedlak (ankle)

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