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Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins

Columbus kicks off the 2016-17 campaign at Nationwide Arena

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer / BlueJackets.com

GAME 1: BLUE JACKETS VS. BRUINS

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 FM / BLUEJACKETS.COM / CBJ APP

SETTING THE STAGE: It's opening night.

The start of the 2016-17 Blue Jackets season is hours away.

Leading off the new campaign is a Thursday night matchup against the Boston Bruins, a team that is eager to rebound after a disappointing year and will be without a few key veterans in the opener. On the other hand, the Blue Jackets endured a tough season of their own and want to begin this one on a much different and more positive note.

The Bruins did not make many changes over the summer (they did sign free agent center David Backes) but made one of the bigger re-signings with Brad Marchand, a deal that was struck just before the season began. They agreed to terms on an eight-year deal that keeps the feisty Marchand in the Spoked B for the foreseeable future, and there's no denying he is a key cog in their success.

With training camp complete, the Blue Jackets begin this season with a different makeup though much of their personnel has been unchanged. Their defense got a noticeable facelift, and the hope is that a younger and more mobile group will enable the Blue Jackets to play a faster and cleaner game in all three zones.

Making their NHL debuts on Thursday will be two Columbus defensemen: 19-year-old Zach Werenski and 22-year-old Markus Nutivaara, who both earned roster spots because of strong performances in training camp. Werenski is penciled in next to Seth Jones, while Nutivaara will play with veteran Jack Johnson.

Expect Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal for the Blue Jackets, and Tuukka Rask to get the nod for the Bruins.

Video: John Tortorella joins the Inside Edge show

NOTEWORTHY NEWS: Coming out of Wednesday's practice, the Blue Jackets had no new injuries to report. Cody Goloubef remains out with an oblique strain, and David Clarkson was placed on the injured non-roster list with a back injury. Joonas Korpisalo is out with a groin injury.

The Bruins will be without Patrice Bergeron due to a lower body injury. The club made the announcement prior to departing for Columbus on Wednesday. Defensemen Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid are also out for Thursday's game.

PROJECTED CBJ LINES:

Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson

Saad - Gagner - Foligno

Hartnell - Wennberg - Bjorkstrand

Calvert - Karlsson - Anderson

DEFENSE PAIRS:

Werenski - Jones

Murray - Savard

Johnson - Nutivaara

Bobrovsky in goal.

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