The Blue Jackets go for three straight wins tonight as they welcome the Vancouver Canucks to Nationwide Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. If you don’t have time to watch the player interviews from the post-practice media scrum or missed any news from this morning, here’s what you need to know:
Brandon Dubinsky skated today, but will not return tonight. Tim Erixon was absent from the morning skate due to illness, but is expected to play. Fedor Tyutin left practice early and is a game-time decision tonight.
Even though Dubinsky is still recovering from a knee sprain, coach Todd Richards said it was encouraging to see him skate with the group today.
“It was good that he was out there with us,” Richards said. “That’s a step. I think getting out on the ice with their teammates again and including them in practices and in drills – getting in the mix again – drives that motivation to want to get back."
You can read a more detailed analysis of what to expect from Vancouver tonight in Rob Mixer’s “Three Keys” post on CBJ Today. Here’s what Richards had to say about Vancouver after the morning skate:
“I think they’re one of the elite teams in the league,” he said. “I look at their history and what they’ve been able to do over the past four or five years. The personnel that they have, the coaching that they have – there’s a lot of consistency in how they play.”
Richards also mentioned the Sedin twins as a force to be reckoned with…
“The uniqueness of the Sedins – just the chemistry that they have and their ability to make plays in the offensive zone… you think there are no plays to make, and they find ways to make plays out of them. That’s a unique thing.”
Richards said the Blue Jackets are still looking for some consistency in net, and Sergei Bobrovsky will have the chance to establish that tonight as he gets the nod against Vancouver.
“There has been games where our goalies have been very good, but they give up one questionable goal,” Richards said. “It’s making the saves that they have to make, but it’s also making the saves that they shouldn’t make, but it’s the ones they have to make that it seems like one or two a game are getting by our guys.
“We’re looking for that one guy to really step up.”
There’s always room for improvement, and the Blue Jackets are looking to extend their four-game point streak tonight. It’s a battle that Nick Foligno said the team is ready for.
“To see the momentum start shifting and the confidence starting to grow, it’s great to see in the locker room,” he said. “I think now we’re realizing how sharp we have to be each and every minute of every game.
“I think all of the guys are obviously proud of the way we’re working right now.”