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Traverse City: Game 1 notebook

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It wasn't pretty nor was it easy, but the Blue Jackets are off to a 1-0 start in the NHL Prospects Tournament following a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild scored first and led twice overall, but the Blue Jackets found an offensive rhythm along the way and took advantage of a few careless penalties by Minnesota. All three of the team's first-round picks in 2013 - Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel and Marko Dano - scored in the game and Oliver Bjorkstrand was pretty good, as well.

Anton Forsberg shook off some early rust and picked up the win between the pipes.

And now, for the not-so-good news.

Sonny Milano, the Blue Jackets' first-round pick in this year's draft, left the game late in the second period after taking a stick to the cheek/mouth area. He did not return, and Springfield Falcons coach Jared Bednar said Milano went for further evaluation after the game.

There were a few unfortunate injuries for Columbus: defenseman Olivier Leblanc, a 2014 draft pick, was hit in the face with a deflected puck in the third period but he eventually returned. Big defenseman Dillon Heatherington left the game and did not return, the likely result of a collision in the neutral zone midway through.

Some other notes:

- Big day for Rychel. A goal and three assists, involved on what seemed like every shift and had plenty of chances. He admitted to some rust after the game but did feel better as the game progressed, and his line with Wennberg and Bjorkstrand was often dangerous.

"I thought I did some good things, but there's obviously room for improvement," Rychel said. "When you're off for three or four months, you feel the rust, for sure - but it was a good start for the boys."

- Josh Anderson played like a big man, and he's becoming a big man. He's grown a couple inches since being drafted in 2012 and bulked up, adding more to the power element of his game and it was on display today, blowing through a few checks and doing a nice job protecting the puck on the cycle.

"I thought that his energy, right from the start of the game, was great," Bednar said. "He created a bunch of scoring chances, he was physical. We used him as much as we could."

- Dano scored twice and was quite impressive, too. He's hard to knock off the puck and he makes smart plays in all three zones, rarely making an unforced error. This is one guy I'm keeping a close eye on during the tournament. There are times when he looks real close to being an NHL player.

The Blue Jackets will skate again at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, and Game 2 of their tournament is against Detroit at 7:30 p.m. here in Traverse City.

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