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Wennberg Injury Could Shift Lines In Game 2

Number of options available to fill void left by Wennberg

by Katie Brown / BlueJackets.com

WASHINGTON -- Alexander Wennberg is doubtful for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round with an upper-body injury, and there will inevitably be some changes to the lineup when the Blue Jackets next take the ice.

The Blue Jackets defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime in Game 1, overcoming multiple deficits along the way. They now lead the series 1-0, the first time in franchise history that the team has led a playoff series.

Video: CBJ@WSH, Gm1: Wennberg chips home Jenner's dish

Luckily the Blue Jackets have a number of players that can fill the gap in the meantime. That includes recently acquired center Mark Letestu, who's been centering the fourth line.

"That was the main reason (we acquired Letestu), and some of the help he's given on special teams as well," Jarmo Kekalainen said on a conference call Friday. "He's done what we've expected him to do, and we knew he was going to because we know the player so well."

There are a number of wingers who can play center in a pinch. That's one less thing to worry about.

"If somebody gets hurt, one of those guys that's playing wing right now can move to center, and that gives us some flexibility and depth we need through the grind of the playoffs," Kekalainen said.

If Nick Foligno moves up to center the second line, where Wennberg usually plays, Letestu could move into the third line center spot and Brandon Dubinsky would slide over from the right wing to center the fourth line. Dubinsky and Letestu typically share center and wing duties on their line.

If Dubinsky moves to play center, Sonny Milano could draw back into the lineup.

Wennberg left Game 1 after a hit from Capitals forward Tom Wilson at 1:18 of the third period. Kekalainen didn't have an immediate update on his condition but called Wilson's play "a dangerous hit."

"I haven't really gotten an update since last night," Kekalainen said. "I talked to Mike Vogt this morning, but he had not spoken with Wennberg this morning yet when I spoke to him, but he'll be doubtful for Sunday."

Wennberg started Columbus' comeback in Game 1 on Thursday with his second period goal. During the regular season, his line was one of the most productive.

Wilson will not have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety regarding the hit and will not be subject to any supplemental discipline.

Neither will Josh Anderson, who was given a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct for boarding Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny in the first period.

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