RALEIGH, NC — Here are the lines and pairs the Blue Jackets worked with today in Raleigh:
Forsberg in goal.
It was a frantic start as you might expect, with both teams playing their first game of the exhibition season and a collection of youth and veterans on both lineups. Carolina was on the front foot early, getting the game’s first four shots and really testing Forsberg out of the gate.
As the Blue Jackets got settled into the game, we got a clearer picture of the lines and pairs. The Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson line was Columbus’ de facto No. 1 line this afternoon, and the defense tandem of Erixon-Wisniewski saw a lot of ice time together after spending the first two training camp practices as a unit.
BLUE JACKETS PRESEASON: SPLIT SQUAD
Carolina scored first, getting a goal from Andrej Sekera on a delayed penalty call. The Blue Jackets were looking at a 90-second 5-on-3 before the goal, but they got back to even strength down only one goal, and they seemed to build from there.
A few shifts later, Mark Letestu hit Cam Atkinson with a 100-foot stretch pass and sent him in on a clear-cut breakaway. Atkinson made a quick head fake and snapped a high shot over Cam Ward’s glove to even things up at 14:41 of the first.
"I thought we played really hard," Foligno told BlueJackets.com. "I really liked our energy, and we had a lot of young guys in our lineup that I thought played pretty well. I thought we deserved to win and I'm happy that we did."
Three minutes after that, Nick Foligno slammed home a centering pass from - guess who? - Letestu to convert a power play goal, giving Columbus its first lead with 2:45 left in the opening period.
All in all, not a bad opening period for the visitors and they headed to the second period with a lead.
Another eventful period for Forsberg, but he’s been terrific this afternoon.
He made 12 saves in second period, yielding only a point-blank goal to Carolina’s Riley Nash four minutes into the period. Forsberg, in a battle with Oscar Dansk for that coveted No. 1 job in Springfield, has made a strong statement today with 22 saves through two periods.
"He battles, he battles hard," Blue Jackets associate coach Craig Hartsburg said. "He's a young goalie that's only going to get better and better because of that."
Oh, right, the second period.
Mike Hoeffel, who’s attending Blue Jackets training camp on a tryout, scored a nice goal early in the second period (3:37 mark) on a set up from Dublin, Ohio’s Trent Vogelhuber. Nash answered for Carolina on the next shift to bring it within 3-2 at 4:12.
But this Foligno-Letestu-Atkinson line is impressive and they struck again later in the period.
Carolina made a goaltending change halfway through, replacing Ward (pre-planned) with youngster Alex Nedeljkovic, who just got back from a solid performance at the Traverse City prospects tournament.
His first shot was a bang-bang pass from Foligno to Atkinson that was the Blue Jackets’ fourth goal of the afternoon.
"They scored some big goals for us," Hartsburg said. "They made good plays to score, and did some good things in the offensive zone."
Not much going on for either side early in the third period. A lot of chip and chasing with the Hurricanes trying to get something going in the offensive zone.
During the first media timeout, you could see acting head coach Craig Hartsburg emphatically reminding his players to keep their feet moving and maintain the pace they set in the first two periods. The Blue Jackets starting sitting back midway through the third and their forecheck lost its structure, and as a result, the Canes were able to generate some momentum from it.
Chris Terry scored on a nice one-timer with 7:52 to play to pull the Hurricanes within a goal, and Sergei Tolchinsky made it happen with a great pass across. Forsberg really had no chance to make the save - it was that good of a feed.
The Blue Jackets held on the final minutes to win their exhibition opener 4-3 in Raleigh.
"I thought our compete level, our battle level, our work was good," Hartsburg said, "but it was obviously pretty sloppy at times with lots of turnovers, but that's to be expected, really."