BLUE JACKETS AT PREDATORS
Ryan Johansen PPG
ANALYSIS: As the second period rolled along, it felt like a mere matter of time before the Predators got on the scoreboard. McElhinney made 30 saves before Mike Ribeiro scored on a wrap-around at the 12:17 mark of the middle frame. There hasn't been much in the way of quality scoring opportunities for Columbus in this game, and further, little evidence of sustained offensive zone time either. The Blue Jackets haven't had much luck 5-on-5 tonight, sporting a 37.5% Corsi For after 40 minutes. To start the third period, it's going to take the same old recipe for success: get pucks into retrievable areas, work to the front of the net and start winning some battles. Shots are 34-15 Nashville.
ANALYSIS: Aside from the shot count (20-7 favoring the Predators), the Blue Jackets played a decent first period and we've got a scoreless tie after one period at Bridgestone Arena. Curtis McElhinney was obviously the busier of the two goaltenders in that period, but he was under control and didn't offer many rebounds to the shoot-happy Predators. The Blue Jackets' power play threatened but didn't score, and Kerby Rychel had a glorious chance to net his first NHL goal just a few minutes in. You could say it was an eventful period and you would be correct, and there's 40 minutes left in regulation to see how this one plays out. If it's anything like the first 20, it'll be played at a high pace with lots of action.
UPDATE (6:00 PM): Curtis McElhinney gets the start in net for the Blue Jackets tonight, per Todd Richards.
- Also from the coach: both Michael Chaput and Kerby Rychel will draw in tonight vs. Nashville. Corey Tropp will be a healthy scratch.
- The Dispatch's Shawn Mitchell has the warm-up lines and it appears that Rychel will start on a line with Boone Jenner at center and Cam Atkinson on right wing. We may or may not have hinted at that this morning (see below for #humblebrag).
- Follow us throughout the game for updates and analysis at @BlueJacketsNHL and @RobMixer.
Good afternoon from the Music City!
The Blue Jackets arrived in Nashville late last night and will take on the Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena. If you read today's BlueJackets.com Game Preview, you're well aware of the changes that have taken place in Nashville since these two teams last met.
New coach, new style, new stars...it's a different look and feel for the Predators and the results - so far - speak for themselves. They are 9-1-1 on home ice and currently tied with the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division lead through the first 22 games. Front and center for Nashville is rookie Filip Forsberg, who leads them in scoring with 23 points and has been nothing short of stellar in the early going.
Ready for some hockey? We sure are. Puck drops at 8 p.m. ET and before we do that, here are some morning/early afternoon notes...
- No morning skate for the Blue Jackets today. A smattering of players skated so we don't have word yet on potential lineup changes tonight. Brandon Dubinsky skated again and continues to make progress toward his season debut.
- Todd Richards said earlier this week that he wasn't sure if Sergei Bobrovsky would split starts this weekend with Curtis McElhinney. Bobrovsky took both starts on last weekend's back-to-back with Boston and Philadelphia.
- The last time these teams met, it was an Artem Anisimov winner in the third period that gave the Jackets a huge boost in their playoff charge. Anisimov has always played well against the Predators, so be on the lookout for him to make something happen tonight.
- Could Kerby Rychel make his NHL debut? It's certainly possible, and also possible that Michael Chaput gets back in the mix as well. With Alexander Wennberg assigned to Springfield this morning, the Blue Jackets' two call-ups have the roster at its 23-man capacity.
- We're just spitballing here, but wouldn't a Rychel-Jenner-Atkinson line be fun to watch tonight? *sends urgent page to the head coach*