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The Blue Jackets and Penguins
are dressing veteran-heavy lineups for their first preseason game of 2013.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
Columbus will have Curtis McElhinney
between the pipes while the Penguins are expected to start Marc-Andre Fleury.
Sidney Crosby did not make the trip with Pittsburgh, but the visitors will have Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Beau Bennett (among others) in their lineup tonight. The Blue Jackets have Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson and a host of regulars suiting up for the exhibition opener.
Here are complete rosters for both teams:
Forwards: Anisimov, Atkinson, Bass, Comeau, Dubinsky, Gaborik, Letestu, Little, Skille, Smith, Umberger, Vogelhuber
Defensemen: Goloubef, Murray, Melart, Nikitin, Savard, Wisniewski
Goalies: Dansk, McElhinney
Forwards: Glass, Kobasew, Jeffrey, Neal, Bennett, Ebbett, Letourneau-Leblond, Sill, Farnham, Payerl, Vitale, Kuhnhackl, Malkin
Defensemen: Niskanen, Scuderi, Harrington, Dumoulin, Mikkelson, Samuelsson, Pouliot
Goalies: Fleury, Zatkoff
TONIGHT'S BLUE JACKETS LINEUP
Little - Anisimov - Gaborik
Comeau - Letestu - Skille
Umberger - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Smith - Vogelhuber - Bass
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard
Melart - Goloubef
What to expect? It's hard to predict on a normal day but even more so when looking ahead to the first preseason game of a new season. As expected, both teams are bringing a host of veterans to help get them back into game shape and ready for opening night, but there's also an interesting mix of young players on both rosters.
The Penguins have a young defense coming to Columbus that includes Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin, and some fresh faces up front like Beau Bennett and Tom Kuhnhackl, the latter coming off a strong development camp earlier this summer. Between the pipes, there will be two experienced players in Marc-Andre Fleury (who's looking for a bounce back season following a disappointing playoff run) for the Penguins, and McElhinney for Columbus.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards wants to use the eight-game exhibition schedule to try out line combinations and special teams units, and tonight is his first opportunity to do so. If this week's practices are a precursor, look for Anisimov and Gaborik to see time on the same line and possibly Wisniewski and Murray on the blue line. The rest of the lines will be known in the pre-game warmup, but one thing we do know is that they'll be assembled with purpose.
If you can't make it down to Nationwide Arena for tonight's game, be sure to follow along with our LIVE blog and get insight from Kristyn Repke and myself throughout the game. We'll have complete post-game coverage on BlueJackets.com, as well.
VS. BUFFALO SABRES (7 P.M.) - in Columbus
AT MINNESOTA WILD (8 P.M.) - in St. Paul, MN**split squad games