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Curtis McElhinney gets the call in California trip finale

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Since John Tortorella was named head coach of the Blue Jackets on Oct. 21, he has known only one starting goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky.

Tortorella gave Bobrovsky a chance to play through his struggles and re-establish his game with seven consecutive starts beginning Oct. 22 in Minnesota and carrying through last night's win at STAPLES Center -- and in the last two starts, Bobrovsky has done some of his finest work, making 41 saves in San Jose and 31 in Los Angeles.

Tonight, Bobrovsky will get a well-deserved night off.

Curtis McElhinney makes his third start of the season and first since Oct. 20 against the New York Islanders at Nationwide Arena, when he gave the Blue Jackets a fighting chance to win despite a lackluster effort in front of him.

McElhinney is winless in his two previous starts (0-2-0) but sports respectable numbers, including a 2.40 goals-against average and .913 save percentage behind a team that couldn't stop its defensive leaks early on.

No excuses tonight for the Blue Jackets, who played a hard game last night and want to end this trip on a positive note. Tortorella refuses to let his players or anyone around the team buy into the notion of built-in excuses, and he's not concerned one bit about playing the tail end of a back-to-back before going home.

"You don't even go there," Tortorella said. "There's no conversation (about it)."

Why not?

"That's the league and that's the schedule," he continued. "You need to be ready to play against a team (Anaheim) that's coming. That stuff there about back-to-backs and we played know, just be ready to go and let's simplify things here. It's your job -- get ready to play another game and we need to find a way to win it."

NOTES: Kerby Rychel was reassigned to Lake Erie (AHL) this afternoon; Rychel, the Monsters' leading scorer (10 points in six games) should be back in the lineup for their weekend series in Milwaukee. Don't expect any changes to the Blue Jackets' forward lines tonight, but there could be a change on defense. We'll update after warmups are complete.

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