10:45 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Much better period from the Blue Jackets, but still, nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Their puck pressure was evident in the middle frame and they got more pucks deep behind the Avalanche defense. It wasn't an easy period for Varlamov, either, who faced a ton of point shots and some scrambles in the crease from the Blue Jackets driving to the net. Columbus amped it up in the physical department, finishing checks and separating pucks from the puck carrier in all three zones. What to watch for in the third period: can the Blue Jackets break through and finish one of these chances off? If they get one, it'll be huge for them; there have been some extreme highs and lows in this game, and grabbing the next high is crucial.
9:45 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: All in all, this wasn't a disastrous period from the Blue Jackets but the scoreboard suggests otherwise. The Avalanche took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a PA Parenteau goal just 51 seconds into the game, and made it 2-0 on a Matt Duchene tally that came from a big rebound off the pad of Bobrovsky. The defensive zone coverage has been a bit better than it was last night in Phoenix, but there are still too many mistakes in the middle of the ice. Columbus had some looks on the power play in the opening period and managed some good chances, but at some point (and soon), that little red light is going to have to come on. Down two goals on the road against a speedy team, you know Colorado has no plans of letting its foot off the gas. The Blue Jackets have to start the second period with authority and build on it.
8:55 P.M. -- This just in from the Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson, who scored a hat trick in this building during Columbus' last trip here, will NOT play tonight. He's listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, and the Blue Jackets will have to juggle their lines again. They'll open with Foligno-Anisimov-Umberger as a trio, with Derek MacKenzie also drawing in the lineup.
Sergei Bobrovsky in net, and we're about set for the opening face-off....keep it locked here throughout the game!
5:45 P.M. -- Our final pre-game interview of the afternoon features none other than Jared Boll, who takes a few minutes to chat with Bob McElligott on Jackets TV:
5:30 P.M. -- Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson stops by to share his thoughts on tonight's game. Watch the full interview on Jackets TV:
4:45 P.M. -- Hear from the other side as Avalanche coach Joe Sacco addresses the media after today's morning skate at the Pepsi Center:
4:00 P.M. -- Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards spoke to the media prior to tonight's game against the Avalanche. You can watch his comments below, courtesy of Jackets TV:
3:15 P.M. -- Need a complete preview and breakdown of tonight's matchup with the Avalanche? Wondering how the Avs are shaping up this season and what they did during the offseason? That's a job that only the BlueJackets.com Game Day preview can handle, and we've got it for you right here: GAME DAY Preview
2:30 P.M. -- There may be last-minute changes based on some bumps and bruises to players (as Todd Richards alluded to earlier in the week), but for the most part, the Blue Jackets are anticipating using the same lineup as they did last night in Phoenix.
Umberger - Brassard - Dorsett
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Atkinson
Foligno - Johansen - Prospal
Calvert - Letestu/MacKenzie - Boll
Tyutin - Nikitin
Johnson - Wisniewski
Moore - Aucoin
One change we could see is Colton Gillies drawing in tonight, as he's the lone Blue Jackets forward yet to play a game this season. On defense, David Savard was scratched for the third straight game last night, but I don't get the sense that Richards is looking to shake up the defense pairings. Based on who needs a night off (and most will be game-time decisions), this lineup could fluctuate.
2:20 P.M. -- Our guy Jeff Rimer reports from the team hotel that Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight for the Blue Jackets. He's expected to face Semyon Varlamov of the Avalanche.
2:15 P.M. -- Here's our first video upload of the day (and it's slightly off-topic, but we think it's cool). Say hello to new Jackets TV reporter Kate Obsorne, who takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour of everything that happened on opening night at Nationwide Arena:
2:00 P.M. -- Good afternoon, everyone. Apologies for the slightly late start on today's Blue Jackets game blog, but the lack of a morning skate has pushed us back a bit. Here's what has transpired since the Blue Jackets' 5-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last night in Glendale: Steve Mason started his first game of the season and made 37 saves in a losing effort, and I thought he was particularly sharp at the start of the game.
He did not receive a lot of support, and despite taking a 1-0 lead on a goal from Fedor Tyutin, the Blue Jackets were unable to sustain any semblance of flow in the offensive zone. As a result, they did a lot of chasing and a bevy of turnovers fed right into the Coyotes' preferred style of play: hard-checking, counterattacking hockey.
In case you missed it, here are last night's full highlights: