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GAME BLOG: Blue Jackets at Wild

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

It's still a game being dominated by the Wild, who lead 23-8 in shots on goal and have a marked territorial edge, but the Blue Jackets are finding a way to hang around. Mark Letestu scored his second goal in the last three games to pull Columbus within a goal -- and it was the end result of the team's best shift of the game. The fourth line got working on a deep cycle and James Wisniewski's point shot hit Letestu in the chest and dropped to his feet, and after a couple whacks at the puck it was a 2-1 game. The Blue Jackets got a good break when an apparent 3-1 goal by Parise was waved off, but they need to be much cleaner on the breakout. Steve Mason is the only reason they're within striking distance, and a handful of his 21 saves have been dynamite. He closed out the second period with a stone-cold stuff of Parise on a wrap-around that looked like a sure goal, and robbed Parise with the glove just minutes earlier. If the Blue Jackets are going to make this a successful third period, they'll need to take some of the pressure off their goaltender and get him some offensive support. That starts with some shots on the target, of which there haven't been nearly enough from Columbus in this game.

8:45 PM. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Here's the long and short of it...the Blue Jackets came out flying in this game and really got the Wild back on its heels. Mikko Koivu took all the air out of the Blue Jackets balloon at 9:23, when picked up the puck near the icing line and tossed it into the feet of Steve Mason. Somehow, it found its way into the net and gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead after a terrific start from the visitors. The Blue Jackets had chances, moved the puck well and were by far the more physical team in the opening period -- but their next mistake also ended up in their net. Koivu's blocked shot bounded to a pinching Tom Gilbert later in the period, and the Minnesota defenseman ripped it into a partially open net to increase the lead to 2-0. All in all, there was a lot to like from the Blue Jackets side in the first 20 minutes, but they'll need a much cleaner second period (and some more shots on goal) to get the next goal, which is the most important one.

6:30 P.M. -- It's not officially a game day blog until we get to the breakdown with assistant coach Dan Hinote. So, with that being said, let's make it officially official:

6:00 P.M. -- is really the only place you need to go for pre-game coverage, so we'll help you out and provide some useful links to get you ready for tonight's game:

READ: Our Game Day preview

READ: Dubinsky becoming a go-to guy for Jackets
READ: Post-game recap of the win over Dallas

5:50 P.M. -- Blue Jackets defenseman John Moore caught up with "Bobby Mac" as the team was heading to the rink tonight. Watch his interview on Jackets TV:

5:30 P.M. -- Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky took some time to chat with Bob McElligott at the team hotel today. Check out their conversation on Jackets TV:

5:15 P.M. -- With no morning skate or formal practice held today, you can expect the Blue Jackets lines and pairs to (for the most part) stay the same as last night. Todd Richards mentioned today that one player may be a game-time decision, but that player's identity was not disclosed.

Umberger - Anisimov - Dorsett
Calvert - Dubinsky - Brassard
Foligno - Johansen - Prospal
Gillies - Letestu - Boll

Tyutin - Nikitin
Johnson - Wisniewski
Moore - Aucoin


5:00 P.M. -- Good afternoon, everyone. The Blue Jackets have arrived safely in St. Paul, Minn. and are getting ready to take on the Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center. After some travel delays (thanks, fog) that forced the team to fly out of Columbus this morning rather than last night, everyone's refreshed and ready to go for tonight's 8 p.m. ET puck drop.

Steve Mason gets the start in goal for the Blue Jackets, and he will oppose Niklas Backstrom in net for the Wild.

While we get this game blog fired up, let's relive highlights from a 2-1 thiller at Nationwide Arena last night:

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