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At the Rink: Senators at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets returned from three games in California hoping a string of bad luck stayed there.

But that would not be the case when goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky fractured a finger during practice Monday and will be out one-to-two weeks, leaving backup Curtis McElhinney, himself coming from injury, to start Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena.

"We thought we left the injury bug in California," Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu said. "These things seem to pile up but we lost [Bobrovsky] for a stretch last year so we've gone through this before. Curtis has come in played some big games for us like he did last year. We know he's a good goalie. We know he can win games for us. Nothing changes."

The Blue Jackets in the past three games lost forward Matt Calvert to an upper-body injury that put him on injured reserve Monday, had right wing Cam Atkinson sustain deep cuts below his right eye after being hit by the skate of Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler and saw left wing Nick Foligno stretchered off the ice following a collision Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.


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Atkinson will play Tuesday. Foligno has a stiff neck and will not dress.

"We can have excuses now that we're an injured team but we have a lot of guys that can step up and win games," Atkinson said.

The Blue Jackets are also without top six forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and Boone Jenner because of injuries.

"This is what it is. You've got to deal with it," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "It's always about solutions. Players get opportunities. That's the way you've got to look at it."

Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, is 4-4-0 this season with a 2.81 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. He missed 14 games last season with a strained groin.

McElhinney's only appearance this season was at Ottawa on Oct. 18. He stopped 15 of 17 shots in 27:02 and was tied 2-2 before he was injured when Foligno inadvertently collided with him, causing a head injury that kept him off the roster for a week.

Bobrovsky entered in relief and gave up the winning goal to Senators forward Mike Hoffman in the third period of the 3-2 defeat.

Goalie Anton Forsberg, who has never appeared in an NHL game, was recalled from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, where was 1-2-0 with a 2.36 GAA and .921 save percentage.

Meanwhile, Ottawa coach Paul MacLean benched Hoffman and forward Colin Greening in favor of Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone.

"Team speed is going to be important and execution with the puck," MacLean said. "We think Stone and Lazar give us a good opportunity to control pucks better."

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Mark Stone - David Legwand - Chris Neil

Mika ZibanejadCurtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson

Milan Michalek - Zack Smith - Erik Condra

Chris Phillips - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Eric Gryba - Mark Borowiecki

Robin Lehner

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Mike Hoffman, Colin Greening

Injured: Marc Methot (back/hip)


Scott HartnellRyan JohansenCam Atkinson

Corey TroppArtem AnisimovMarko Dano

Alexander Wennberg - Mark Letestu - Jack Skille

Adam CracknellMichael ChaputJared Boll

Ryan MurrayJames Wisniewski

Fedor TyutinDavid Savard

Jack JohnsonDalton Prout

Curtis McElhinney

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Tim Erixon, Cody Goloubef

Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (fractured finger), Matt Calvert (upper body), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Boone Jenner (broken left hand), Nathan Horton (back), Nick Foligno (upper body).

Status report: Erixon, who scored his first NHL goal in his 59th game Sunday against the Kings, will be a healthy scratch because Columbus will go with six defensemen instead of the seven. "It's always hard to pull someone out of the lineup," Richards said. "We have eight healthy defensemen right now."… Cowen, scratched the past five games, replaces Wiercioch. "We felt the game [Tuesday] gives us an opportunity to get him in against a good opponent," MacLean said.

Who's hot: Johansen has 11 points (5-6) while scoring in all eight games this season and points in 14 straight regular-season games back to last season … Michalek scored his first goal of the season, shorthanded at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, after scoring 17 times last season.

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