The good news: Nick Foligno was back on the ice this morning and looks ready to return after illness kept him out of Tuesday night’s game in Raleigh.
The bad news: that illness has made its way to Brandon Dubinsky (and also Artem Anisimov, but Anisimov is expected to play) and as a result, he will not play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, a team against which the Blue Jackets have experienced mixed results this season.
On Nov. 18, the Blue Jackets “laid an egg” to Detroit in a 5-0 loss at Nationwide Arena, in the words of coach Todd Richards. It was one of their more disappointing performances of the season and they were not able to match the Red Wings’ pace from the get-go, and as a result, the game involved a lot of chasing, penalty killing...and more chasing.
Then on Dec. 16, the Blue Jackets won their seventh straight game by virtue of a complete team performance in a 1-0 shootout win at Joe Louis Arena. Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner scored in the shootout to give Columbus the victory.
“You have to skate versus this group and you have to manage the puck,” Richards said of the Red Wings. “They’re a group that skates and works hard and the skill takes over from there. Last time we were in this building, we played well – one of our better games we played this season. We matched their work ethic and their skating.
"We have to be ready to skate and ready to compete against these guys.”
MURRAY ON THE VERGE
Ryan Murray’s injury trouble has been well-documented and you can bet that no one’s as frustrated by it as the player himself, but it looks as though he’ll be back on the ice soon. The Blue Jackets announced this afternoon that Murray had been activated off injured reserve after missing the past 16 games with a high ankle sprain suffered Feb. 6 vs. St. Louis.
He’s expected to return to the lineup Friday night vs. the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena, Richards said today, but there has not been any indication yet as to who will be scratched.
Murray has played only nine games this season but Richards knows exactly what he’s getting from a kid that is already a good player and only going to get better.
“There’s a good chance he’ll play tomorrow,” Richards said. “He’s a talented player, a talented kid and a guy that logs a lot of minutes for us. He can play power play, penalty kill, 4-on-4…an every situation type player. For us, the most important thing is getting him back on the ice and getting the reps.
“He’s missed too much hockey, so it’s about getting him back in the fold here.”
With Dubinsky out, the Blue Jackets will have Luke Adam in the lineup once again. Johansen centers a line with Rene Bourque and Cam Atkinson, while Alexander Wennberg plays with Scott Hartnell and Marko Dano. Corey Tropp joins Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno on a newly-assembled line.
Sergei Bobrovsky is tonight's starting goaltender for the Blue Jackets and he's expected to start again tomorrow night vs. Edmonton, as well.