9:45 P.M. -- Tons of compete in the second period from the Blue Jackets, and as a result, they've earned themselves a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes in Nashville. Their energy was better, their forecheck was excellent, and they got a spectacular goal from Artem Anisimov to pull even in the middle of the period. They'll need a lot more of that in the third period, as the Predators will come with a strong push. Bobrovsky really picked up his game in the second and made a few solid stops, but for the most part, Columbus controlled possession in the Nashville end of the rink. The transition game has been solid; the Blue Jackets moved the puck much better in the second period.
But hey...how about that Anisimov goal? Jeepers.
8:55 P.M. -- That first period was about what I expected for the first game of the season, and essentially what Todd Richards alluded to during training camp. There were some breakdowns, some bad bounces and a dash of sloppiness going around the rink in the opening 20 minutes. Martin Erat's goal just 39 seconds in initially looked like a bad goal to give up, but the replay showed a deflection off the defenseman just after Erat let the shot go.
The Blue Jackets really settled in after that and did the little things that they need to do: supporting the puck, coming up the ice as a five-man unit and working hard for scoring chances. Nick Foligno's slick re-direct of a Fedot Tyutin bomb on the power play tied the game at 1-1, but Ryan Ellis got one back on the power play for Nashville just minutes later.
All in all, not a great period but by no means a back-breaker, either. There's still 40 minutes to play and plenty of time for the Blue Jackets to get things going in the other direction.
4:00 P.M. -- Remember the overtime thriller from last November at Bridgestone Arena? Relive it. And thank you once again, Mr. Wisniewski:
3:30 P.M. -- Blue Jackets assistant coach Dan Hinote stopped by to preview tonight's game with Bob McElligott on Jackets TV. Check it out:
1:50 P.M. -- And now, we have the opening night lineup for the Predators:
Kostitsyn - Fisher - Erat
Smith - Legwand - Hornqvist
Smith - Gaustad - Halischuk
Clune - Spaling - Yip/McGrattan
Josi - Weber
Hannan - Klein
Gill - Ellis
1:35 P.M. -- Columbus scratches for tonight: Colton Gillies, Mark Letestu, David Savard.
1:30 P.M. -- Here is the Blue Jackets projected lineup for tonight's game:
Umberger - Brassard - Atkinson
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Dorsett
Foligno - Johansen - Prospal
Calvert - MacKenzie - Boll
Tyutin - Nikitin
Johnson - Wisniewski
Moore - Aucoin
1:25 P.M. -- And here we are...good afternoon and happy game day, Blue Jackets fans! We're thrilled to be back in the saddle and bringing you the latest on what should be a wild and exciting ride this season.
It's just before 1:30 p.m. ET, which means the Blue Jackets have just wrapped up their morning skate at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and we're just hours away from dropping the puck on the 2012-13 season. Can you believe it? I've been pinching myself all day...so awesome to be covering a game tonight.
Here's what we know: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards just told assembled media that Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight for Columbus. The 24-year-old Bobrovsky is making his Blue Jackets debut and will face Pekka Rinne between the pipes for the Predators.
You know what that means. Take it away, Jay Onrait...