8:40 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Incremental improvement in the Blue Jackets' pace and forecheck presence, but they still trail by a goal after 40 minutes. Dallas got two goals in the middle frame: a third-time's-a-charm rebound for Derek Roy as the Blue Jackets could not clear the front of the net, and later in the period, a go-ahead goal from Antoine Roussel off a neat re-direct from the left point shot of Brendan Dillon. There were a pair of tallies for Columbus, as well: a bullet one-timer from Nikita Nikitin that tied the game at 1:21 of the second, and a quick answer to the Roy goal from Derek Dorsett, who started and finished his own play. Puck management is going to be a key in this third period and the Blue Jackets cannot turn the puck over as they have so far. Keeping their physical play up is crucial, as well, considering the Stars are on the second night of a back-to-back.
7:50 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Neither team got much going in the first period, but the visitors certainly didn't look like a club playing its second game in as many nights and in two different time zones. The Blue Jackets came out a little flat and were out-shot 14-5 in the first period, and the lone goal was a quirky deflection off the skate of Dallas captain Brenden Morrow and into the net. Cody Eakin made a nice rush down the wall and slung the puck into the slot, and though it appeared Morrow may have kicked at it, the goal stood after review. Two things need to happen in the second period: a stronger presence on the forecheck by the Blue Jackets, and more pucks on the net. Five shots in 20 minutes isn't going to put much pressure on the Stars' defense.
3:00P.M. -- A view through the CBJ lense from this morning's skate:
1:15 P.M. -- Just called up from Springfield, Ryan Johansen will play his second consecutive game tonight centering a line with Matt Calvert and Nick Foligno. Watch the interview here:
1:00 P.M. -- Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett chatted with Bob McElligott after today's morning skate. Catch the full interview right here on Jackets TV:
12:30 P.M. -- FROM THE STARS' SKATE: Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports that Kari Lehtonen, who has been IR with a groin injury, is not ready to return to action tonight. That means one of two goaltenders -- Richard Bachman or Christopher Nilstorp -- gets the start between the pipes for the Stars.
12:00 P.M. -- From the morning skate line rushes, it looks like Nick Drazenovic is the healthy scratch up front tonight. The Blue Jackets have six healthy defensemen on the roster, and all six are in the lineup.
11:30 A.M. -- INJURY UPDATE: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said James Wisniewski has a broken bone in his foot and will be out "an extended period of time." Artem Anisimov is progressing, Richards said, and they will keep a close eye on his progress as he goes through workouts. Brandon Dubinsky (knee) and Jack Johnson (shoulder) are likely a week or so away from returning.
10:10 A.M. -- Here are the Blue Jackets' line combinations for tonight's game:
Umberger - Brassard - Atkinson
Calvert - Johansen - Foligno
Prospal - Letestu - Dorsett
Gillies - MacKenzie - Boll
Tyutin - Nikitin
Moore - Goloubef
Erixon - Aucoin
10:05 A.M. --
Sergei Bobrovsky is working in the starter's net this morning, and it looks like he will start tonight vs. the Stars.
10:00 A.M. -- The Blue Jackets have taken the ice for the morning skate at Nationwide Arena, and James Wisniewski is not on the ice with the team. We hope to get an update from coach Todd Richards after practice.
9:30 A.M. -- GET IT STARTED: We're back after a loooooong road trip that spanned 13 days and covered six games. I'm still getting used to my usual seat here in section 103 of Nationwide Arena, prepping for the Blue Jackets morning skate that's set to get started here in about 20 minutes.
Tonight's game vs. the Dallas Stars begins a home-heavy stretch of the 2013 schedule. The Blue Jackets travel to Chicago for a Friday night showdown with the Blackhawks after this, but following that game, they'll play nine of the next 10 games here on home ice. The lone road game is part of a home-and-home, back-to-back set with the Detroit Red Wings on Mar. 9-10.
So, here's where we stand: the Stars a bit beaten up due to injuries but they're still playing solid hockey. They may get goaltender Kari Lehtonen back tonight, but that decision likely won't be made until after they skate today.
For the latest news, player interviews and photos from today's morning skate and beyond, be sure to keep it locked to this blog.