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Game Day pres. by AAA: Preseason #6 (at Nashville)

by Brian McCormack / Columbus Blue Jackets


FINAL: BLUE JACKETS 3,  PREDATORS 0
BRIDGESTONE ARENA | NASHVILLE, TN

IN GAME UPDATES

Jared Boll adds a third period goal to make it 3-0 --> LISTEN HERE

SECOND PERIOD RECAP
After being out-played and out-shot in the first period, the second period was a far different story for the Blue Jackets, who took hold of the game and nearly put it away. James Wisniewski's shorthanded goal - set up by a beautiful drop pass from Nick Foligno just inside the Nashville blue line - overpowered Rinne and gave the Jackets a 2-0 lead just 4:22 into the second period. It could have been 3-0 or 4-0, too, if not for some close calls around the Predators' net, but the goals would have been earned after Columbus owned the puck in the second period. They out-shot the Predators 13-8 in the second period and took the game to the other end of the ice.

James Wisniewski joins the rush short-handed and makes it 2-0 --> LISTEN HERE

FIRST PERIOD RECAP

The Blue Jackets were out-shot in the first period and didn't have the puck that often, but all they needed was a late-period opportunity on the power play to take an early lead in Nashville. Two penalties for Erixon and another from Hjalmarsson gave the new-look Predators power play plenty of work, but McElhinney was quite equal to the task. He made 12 saves in the first period, a couple of those on James Neal, to keep it scoreless in the first 10-15 minutes when Nashville pushed hard. Anisimov's power play goal late in the period was the product of a perfect pass from Foligno behind the net, and it was a no-doubt tap in for big No. 42.
Artem Anisimov's power play goal gives the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead --> LISTEN HERE

PRE GAME UPDATES
From the coach...


- Todd Richards said Boone Jenner took a puck off the hand in practice yesterday and will not play tonight, hence the change of adding Marko Dano to the lineup. Richards said it's precautionary due to some swelling on Jenner's hand.

- Curtis McElhinney will start and play the full game tonight in Nashville.

- Brandon Dubinsky, who left after two periods in Pittsburgh on Saturday (also precautionary), took a skate by himself before the second group's practice. If all goes well and he feels good, Dubinsky will join the group for the late morning skate, Richards said.

- Ryan Murray, who practiced yesterday for the first time in this training camp, is skating with the second group for a second consecutive day. He said he felt really good after a day of "pushing it hard" on Sunday, and he's encouraged to be able to get back after it again today.

One other change: it looks as though Boone Jenner will not play tonight and Marko Dano will, based on the line rushes during the morning skate. Jenner was initially on the Jackets' lineup for tonight's game in Nashville, but there are occasionally last-minute changes. 

Here are the lines and pairs from the morning skate...
Hartnell-Anisimov-Dano
Rychel-Letestu-Foligno
D'Amigo-Chaput-Boll
Hjalmarsson-Wennberg-Atkinson

Johnson-Savard
Tyutin-Goloubef
Erixon-Wisniewski

*Defense pairs are rotating in and out during the AM skate

SCOUTING REPORT

The Blue Jackets will get their first taste of the new guard in Nashville when they face the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night. There’s a new face behind the bench for the first time in the franchise’s history, as the team parted ways with former head coach Barry Trotz after 15 seasons. Now it’s Peter Laviolette’s turn, and the Predators are expected to look like a different, more offensive-minded team.

Trotz was praised as one of the league’s best defensive coaches and he had the personnel to execute his structured, disciplined system. For four seasons, he dressed Shea Weber and Ryan Suter in the same lineup in front of All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne every night.

After Suter’s departure, it was the Predators' inability to score that led to a change in direction for Nashville. The Predators finished ninth in the Western Conference in scoring last season and dead last the season before. Laviolette is expected to bring a more up-tempo pace to the Predator attack.

The Predators made some additions in the offseason to help Laviolette with that task. The Penguins had some roster turnover this season as well, and as a result James Neal finds himself in a Predator uniform with a heavy burden of expectations. Mike Ribeiro joins the Predators as a potential playmaker, and 2012 first-round pick (Washington) Filip Forsberg may be ready to make the full-time jump to the NHL.

Got a burning #CBJ question? Tweet it using #RbAExperts and you might hear it on tonight's LIVE broadcast!

The defense is a work in progress with some strong pieces. Aside from Weber, Seth Jones prepares for his second season after a strong rookie campaign. Skilled defenseman Ryan Ellis agreed to a multi-year contract on Thursday and is back with the team for his third season in Nashville.

The Predators swept split-squad games against the Panthers on Saturday. Prospect Pontus Aberg scored two goals in the one contest, a 4-1 win for Nashville, while Craig Smith had a goal and the shootout winner in the other game, a 2-1 final.

The Jackets arrive in Nashville coming off their first loss of the preseason, a 2-1 decision in Pittsburgh, and their second round of roster cuts. They will start goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who is expected to play the full game. The Jackets will also dress Michael Chaput, Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel, and Cody Goloubef in what will be an important look for players as more cuts are made next week. Boone Jenner will play in his first game since September 21st. Tim Erixon will also make his return to the Jackets lineup.

PLAYING ROSTER
For the Blue Jackets…

Forwards: Anisimov, Atkinson, Boll, Chaput, D'Amigo, Foligno, Hartnell, Hjalmarsson, Jenner, Letestu, Rychel, Wennberg

Defense: Erixon, Goloubef, Johnson, Savard, Tyutin, Wisniewski

Goalies: McElhinney, Dansk

*Line combinations to be determined after the team’s morning skate.

UP NEXT
vs Carolina Hurricanes
Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET
Nationwide Arena

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