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Game Day: Preseason #1 (Split Squad)

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

GAME #2 - vs. St. Louis
A period that started out as the opposite of eventful turned out as quite entertaining. The Blues still control the shot total, leading 24-11 in that department after 40 minutes but the Blue Jackets have been efficient with their offense.

Columbus has three goals on 11 shots in the game, and two of them came in the middle frame. Alexander Wennberg gave the Jackets a 2-1 lead on the power play, re-directing a point shot from Dalton Prout that ticked off Boone Jenner's foot right to his stick, and then into the net.

Late in the period, it was Boone Jenner (who is playing center tonight) going hard to the net and cleaning up a loose puck in front of the net. David Savard's shot found its way through the traffic, and after a juicy rebound, Jenner was in the perfect spot to backhand it in for a two-goal lead.

Quite an entertaining first period at Nationwide Arena between the Blue Jackets and Blues. One look at the scoresheet might suggest that St. Louis has controlled the proceedings (leading 14-5 in shots and with three power plays), but Columbus was the better team at the outset before running into penalty trouble.

In his first shift at Nationwide Arena, Kerby Rychel got the Blue Jackets out in front with a quick cut-back into the slot, slipping a wrister through the pads of Blues goaltender Jake Allen at 2:02 of the first period. Not a bad way to kick off your pro career in Columbus (yeah it's preseason, but it's still cool) and the Blue Jackets got a lot of energy from that goal.

The Blues were guilty of several egregious turnovers in the first period and they're quite fortunate to be tied 1-1 based on that alone. Matt Calvert nearly beat Allen off a giveaway, Boone Jenner hit the post on a wicket shot from the slot, and Alexander Wennberg nearly deflected a Jack Johnson point shot past Allen - but Allen had the presence of mind to dive back and cover the loose puck in the crease.

At the other end, Curtis McElhinney was sharp in the first period, making 13 saves and several of high quality. A good sign and a good start from the guy in net for Columbus.


Kerby Rychel scores early to put us up 1- 0 CLICK HERE TO LISTENCLICK HERE TO WATCH

St. Louis Pregame Update

Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was thrilled about the youth in the organization after his prospects squad put on an offensive clinic to win the Traverse City Prospects tournament. Now it’s time for some of those youngsters to push for spots on the big club. And in the team’s first appearance of the preseason at Nationwide Arena, three of the team’s most prized prospects will be front and center. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE



*No defense pairs set after the morning skate.

GAME #1 - at Carolina

Atkinson (1) | Atkinson (2) | Foligno | Hoeffel


7:52 - Carolina gets one back on the power play, and really, it was a matter of time. That was a dangerous-looking power play for the home side, and Chris Terry's one timer found the open side to make it a 4-3 game. Great pass across the ice from Sergei Tolchinsky to set up Terry.

11:24 - Shots are 25-17 just about midway through the third period. The score remains 4-2 Columbus. Looked like Craig Hartsburg - today's head coach for the Jackets' split-squad - is reminding his guys on the bench to keep their feet moving. 

16:55 - Nothing to report so far in the third period. Each team has a shot on goal, Cam Atkinson is sniffing around for the hat trick after two nice goals on the afternoon.

And with that, we've played two periods of hockey here in Raleigh. Second period goals from Mike Hoeffel and Cam Atkinson (his second of the day) have the Blue Jackets ahead 4-2 after 40 minutes. Shots are heavily in Carolina's favor, 24-14, but Forsberg has stood tall in net for visitors. Stay tuned -- we'll be back for the third!

3:10 - It's been a barrage on Forsberg these last few minutes. Carolina is up to 22 shots with three minutes remaining in the second period and it could be a lot more. The Blue Jackets have blocked a ton of shots and done what they can to make it hard on the Hurricanes, who are trying to get back in this game, down 4-2.

5:45 - More pressure from the Hurricanes forces Columbus into a tripping penalty. Brian Gibbons gets a much-needed whistle for the Jackets but they'll be shorthanded. UPDATE: They killed it off. 

7:50 - Welcome to game action, young Alex. The first shot the new Canes goaltender faces is an absolute lay-up for Atkinson after a beautiful pass by Foligno along the goal line. A quick breakout 3-on-2 made it happen for the Jackets, who now lead 4-2 with under six minutes left in the second period.

9:47 - Canes goalie prospect Alex Nedeljkovic, who played well for them in the Traverse City tournament, has taken over in goal for Cam Ward. This was a pre-planned move, the Canes say. Forsberg remains between the pipes for Columbus.

11:07 - Really nice play by Tim Erixon to hustle back and disrupt a shorthanded 2-on-1 for Carolina. Nick Foligno tried to hit him for a one-timer, but Patrick Dwyer picked it off and went the other way. 

14:03 - An excellent stop by Forsberg, as he dove back with the right pad to deny Chris Terry in front of the net. His best stop of the afternoon so far. 

15:48 - On the next shift, Carolina gets one back. Riley Nash swatted in a loose puck at the side of the net, eluding the Jackets' defensive coverage to make this a one-goal game. Lots of action happening fast and furious in the second period and we've only played four minutes. 

16:23 - Mike Hoeffel just ripped a quick shot top shelf on Ward early in the second period to give Columbus a two-goal lead. Great shot off a pass from Dublin native Trent Vogelhuber. Jackets have been pretty good to open the second.

17:50 - The Blue Jackets killed off a Corey Tropp roughing penalty late in the first/early second and we're back to full strength. Shots are 13-10 and the Jackets have seen some success on the forecheck to begin the middle frame.

The second period is underway from PNC Arena. Keep it locked right here for live updates...

That's all for the first period here at PNC Arena. The Blue Jackets started slowly but got better as the first period went on, but they still trail 11-9 in the shots on goal department after 20 minutes. Goals from Atkinson (breakaway set up by Letestu) and Foligno (power play) have Columbus in front.

2:15 - And another goal for the good guys. Letestu, who's been really good in this first period, made a quick centering pass on the power play and found Nick Foligno all alone in front. He smacked it past Ward to give the Jackets their first lead at the 17:45 mark. Shots are 11-9 Carolina now late in the first. Canes on a power play, as well...

5:19 - And right back come the Blue Jackets. Mark Letestu just made a really nice stretch pass to hit Cam Atkinson at the offensive blue line. One slick head fake and a quick shot top glove on Ward, and this is a 1-1 hockey game. Shots are currently 10-4 favoring the Hurricanes. 

7:33 - A penalty, then a delayed penalty. It's been all Carolina the last few minutes. Andrej Sekera ripped a slap shot top-corner on Forsberg to make it 1-0 Hurricanes. Jackets reeling right now, trail 9-3 in shots but the Corsi numbers have to be off the charts for the home team.

12:39 - We've reached the first media timeout. Not much doing so far for either side. Shots are 4-3 favoring Carolina...Jackets just had a chance denied by Ward on Ryan Craig. Nice pass across by Corey Tropp to make it happen, too. 

14:55 - Great chance in front of Ward for Foligno off a point shot from Will Weber. Deflected just wide. Still 0-0.

16:04 - A few really good chances early on for Carolina, but Anton Forsberg has been impressive. Jackets on their heels a bit but starting to settle into the game.

Here are the lines and pairs for the early game:


The lines and pairs were not exactly concrete during the pre-game skate, but here's an idea of what the Jackets are going with this afternoon at PNC Arena:

Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson looks like it'll be the Blue Jackets' No. 1 line today against the Hurricanes, who are dressing a lineup with several NHL regulars including goaltender Cam Ward. It appears as though Michael Chaput will center Ryan Craig and Corey Tropp, but after that, we'll wait until the first shifts.

On defense, Tim Erixon and James Wisniewski will pair up as they did in the first two practices of training camp. Frederic St. Denis pairs with Cody Goloubef and Will Weber with Thomas Larkin to round out the Columbus defense. Anton Forsberg starts in net - puck drops in 10 minutes!

Curtis McElhinney and Oscar Dansk are expected to split time in net vs. the Blues.


The Blue Jackets have gotten pretty used to this split-squad thing. Sunday’s dual set of games marks the third time in four seasons that Columbus has sent half of its training camp roster to one city, while the other half gets the exhibition schedule underway in Columbus.

Columbus and Carolina get started at 1:30 p.m. at PNC Arena in Raleigh with Anton Forsberg earning the start in goal for the Blue Jackets. Todd Richards said after Saturday’s practice that he expects Forsberg to play the entire game, while there’s a slightly different plan for the goaltending duties in Columbus.

Curtis McElhinney will play 1-2 periods against the St. Louis Blues (a 6:30 p.m. face-off at Nationwide Arena) before giving way to Oscar Dansk. Dansk, one of the Blue Jackets’ promising young goaltenders, was very good in the Traverse City prospects tournament last week and back-stopped the Jackets prospects to a 3-2 overtime win over Dallas in the final.

Both lineups feature a mix of youth and veterans with James Wisniewski anchoring a young group of defensemen headed to Raleigh. Newcomer Brian Gibbons and 19-year-old sniper Oliver Bjorkstrand will also dress against the Hurricanes.

It’ll be a quick turnaround for those headed to Carolina; assuming there are no flight delays, that group should be back in Columbus in time to catch the evening game against the Blues.

Richards is going with a few more veterans in the evening lineup, including a forward group with names like Anisimov, Boll, Jenner (who will play center), and also, all three 2013 first-round picks (Wennberg, Rychel, Dano).

The evening game at Nationwide Arena will be broadcast on radio (1460 ESPN in Columbus) Bob McElligott will have the call. For updates on the afternoon game, follow @BlueJacketsNHL and @RobMixer, who will be on-site in Raleigh.


at Carolina

Forwards: Atkinson, Bjorkstrand, Chaput, Craig, Foligno, Gibbons, Hoeffel, Letestu, Tropp, Tynan, Tyrell, Vogelhuber
Defense: Erixon, Goloubef, Larkin, St. Denis, Weber, Wisniewski

Goalies: Forsberg, Munroe

vs. St. Louis

Forwards: Anderson, Anisimov, Boll, Calvert, D'Amigo, Dano, Hjalmarsson, Jenner, Moutrey, Rychel, Soberg, Wennberg
Defense: Heatherington, Johnson, Ponich, Prout, Savard, Sifers

Goalies: Dansk, McElhinney


vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Nationwide Arena

Score twice, half price! If the Jackets score at least two goals, YOU get 50% off large pizzas from Papa John's tomorrow. Tweet your predictions using #Jackets50!

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