One last dress rehearsal before the show begins.
The Blue Jackets (4-2-1) play their eighth and final preseason game tonight at Nationwide Arena, a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Nashville Predators.
Both teams are expected to bring strong lineups to their exhibition finales, so tonight’s game will be a solid barometer for both Todd Richards and Peter Laviolette.
And if there’s a team that Richards would like to test his group against, it’s these Predators – a talented team that always puts work first and skill second. Not many of these Blue Jackets were around in the team’s Central Division days, but there’s a history between Columbus and Nashville and Tuesday’s meeting at Bridgestone Arena wasn’t exactly lighthearted.
More than anything, Richards wants his team to leave tonight’s game with a good feeling before Friday’s season opener against the New York Rangers.
“I want us to outwork them,” Richards said, when asked what he wants to see from his team tonight.
There was plenty of work and skill on display last night in Buffalo, when the Jackets' youthful lineup put up six goals on the Sabres, who dressed a lineup that was fairly close to their opening night roster.
Here’s how the game day group skated this morning:
Saad – Johansen – Foligno
Jenner – Dubinsky – Bourque
Hartnell – Wennberg – Atkinson
Karlsson – Campbell – Boll
Tyutin – Johnson
Connauton – Prout
Falk – Savard
And some notes, updates, etc.:
- Ryan Murray was not feeling well this morning and was sent home, Richards told the media after the morning skate. Consider him questionable for tonight’s game.
- David Clarkson and Matt Calvert are in the “banged up” category and won’t play tonight.
- Great quote from Richards, asked if this team was the nicest car he’s ever had the keys to: “I’m standing on the lot, and the car looks pretty good. But I want to see what’s under the hood.”
- The Blue Jackets have really liked William Karlsson’s game in training camp. Richards spoke today about how he’s become a trusted, reliable player and can be used in all situations. More tomorrow.
- For a short window, the training camp roster expanded to 38 players with yesterday’s call-ups from Lake Erie (AHL). The seven players who joined the Blue Jackets in Buffalo were assigned back to Cleveland this morning.