TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Blue Jackets know they’re set for the championship game of the NHL Prospects Tournament (tomorrow night at 7 p.m.), but there’s still one item of business left on the agenda before then.
They’re 2-0-0 in the tournament with two regulation wins, giving them six points and the top spot in the Gordie Howe Division. On Friday, they scored six times - twice on the power play - to beat the Minnesota Wild by a 6-4 final and they needed a major rally in the third period on Saturday night to remain unbeaten.
Detroit started quickly, at times overwhelming the Blue Jackets with speed and a very physical game. Columbus didn't help itself either, committing some blatant turnovers in the crucial areas of the ice and relying on Oscar Dansk to bail them out (which he did).
The Blue Jackets scored three times in the third period to win 5-3, highlighted by one of the best goals of the tournament from Marko Dano.
And today, they’ll play one more “preliminary” game against the St. Louis Blues before tomorrow’s tournament final. The Blues have been inconsistent through their first two games of the tournament, but to no one’s surprise, both Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri have looked dynamic and dangerous.
Those are two players the Blue Jackets will have their heads on a swivel for this afternoon.
UPDATE (3:10 PM): Here are the lines and pairs for today's game...
Here are some other notes from the morning practice:
- Sonny Milano was in street clothes watching practice today, and as John Davidson confirmed a couple days ago, he will not play in the remaining two games of the tournament. Milano suffered facial fractures in Friday night’s game and there’s no timetable for his return at this time.
- Dillon Heatherington looks like a go for today’s game. He got an errant stick to the mouth on Friday and needed some dental work done before he could return to the ice. He practiced this morning and said he’s been feeling much better.
- Anton Forsberg was the first goalie to leave the ice this morning, leading one to believe he’ll start today. He and Dansk have officially begun their competition for Springfield’s No. 1 job, and they’re playing like it.
If you want to know those changes, you can follow my live in-game updates (@RobMixer) and check BlueJackets.com later this evening for a full report with player notes.