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At the Rink: Blackhawks at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets’ extraordinary string of injuries continued with the news Saturday morning that left wing Boone Jenner will miss one to two months with a fracture in his back.

His injury comes a day after left wing Brian Gibbons (knee) was put on injured reserve and is expected to miss two to three weeks.

The Blue Jackets (13-15-3) will have 209 man games lost (6.53 per game) after playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Nationwide Arena on Saturday. The Blackhawks will total 58. Also, Columbus has three players who have played every game this season compared to 11 for Chicago.

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries. It seems like you’re getting healthy then the injury bug comes back,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “It’s not just losing Boone. It’s losing Brian Gibbons. We’ve lost two left wingers, guys who have been playing some key minutes for us.”

The Blackhawks (22-9-1), despite their low number of injuries, have had personnel issues recently and will welcome the return of goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Duncan Keith. Crawford missed the past eight games after injuring his ankle following a misstep at a concert, and Keith did not play Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild because of illness.

Chicago won seven of eight with backup goalie Antti Raanta, and coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford has a chance to continue the momentum

“The way we're succeeding with our goaltending it’s like we’re almost expecting it now,” he said.”Game in and game out the quality of goaltending we’ve had has been unbelievable. … We didn’t feel that hurriedness or that need to expedite (Crawford’s) return.”

Columbus was inching its way toward a full roster and was 7-0-1 in the past eight games when Boone was diagnosed with the injury. Richards said Jenner played with “back soreness” for awhile before being examined.

“If we hadn’t looked at it I guarantee Boone would be playing,” Richards said.

Jenner missed the first month of the season with a broken hand and has six goals and 12 points in 20 games. He had five goals and an assist in the past eight games.

“You feel for Boone,” left wing Nick Foligno said. “He’s been a big part of this team and scored some huge goals for us this year and will be a big part of this team moving forward.”

The loss of Jenner presents an opportunity for right wing Jeremy Morin, acquired Sunday from the Blackhawks for defenseman Tim Erixon, who will be in the Chicago lineup.

“It’s a different feeling playing against your old team. I’ve never done it before,” Morin said.

He will be on a line with Foligno and center Ryan Johansen and also see power play minutes. Rookie center Alexander Wennberg was called up from Springfield of the American Hockey League to replace Gibbons.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Kris Versteeg - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Patrick Sharp

Daniel Carcillo - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Tim Erixon - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Joakim Nordstrom, David Rundblad

Injured: Trevor van Riemsdyk (lower body)


Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Jeremy Morin

Corey Tropp - Alexander Wennberg - Jack Skille

Adam Cracknell - Michael Chaput - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Kevin Connauton - James Wisniewski

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Jordan Leopold, Cody Goloubef, Sean Collins

Injured: Nathan Horton (back), Ryan Murray (knee), Mark Letestu (groin), Artem Anisimov (torn triceps), Scott Hartnell (broken finger), Brian Gibbons (knee), Boone Jenner (back)

Status report: The injury to Jenner puts Cracknell in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past six games. Collins, a center, was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League to take Jenner’s spot on the roster.

Who’s hot: The Blackhawks are 10-0-3 vs. Columbus since Feb. 18, 2011, outscoring them 55-23, including 24-13 in Nationwide Arena.

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