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At the Rink: Wild at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS – Coach John Tortorella has no choice but to go with the youth movement until the Columbus Blue Jackets top two goaltenders return from injury.

With that in mind, the more "experienced" Anton Forsberg, 23, will start Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-O) when the Blue Jackets go for a third straight win.

Rookie Joonas Korpisalo, 21, will be the backup while No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky misses his 12th straight game because of a groin injury. Korpisalo is 1-4-0 with a 3.65 goals-against average.

"Maybe it bands us together the way it should," captain Nick Foligno said. "We're going to be more focused in our defensive end for sure."

Forsberg played in his sixth NHL game Saturday and got his first win in relief of Curtis McElhinney, who injured his ankle 55 seconds into overtime against the Washington Capitals and is out indefinitely.

After making six saves in overtime, Forsberg stopped two of three shooters in the shootout for the 5-4 victory.

The Wild hope to get to him early.

"I think the last time we faced a young goalie we got five shots halfway through the game," Minnesota left wing Zach Parise said. "Whatever we did that game, do something different. You've got to test them, test them a lot and try to make them uncomfortable."

Tortorella is not looking for major overhauls in his system to protect Forsberg.

"It's a little bit about changing your mindset, especially early in the game," he said. "When a young kid comes in and doesn't have a lot of experience, you want to try to help him, try to play well in front of him. That's basically fill the middle and let them take some shots from the outside."

The key, according to Columbus left wing Brandon Saad, is controlling the Wild's entry.

"Being more clean in the neutral zone and playing better defensively will lead to more turnovers and get us back on the forecheck quick and that's where we have success," he said.

Wild coach Mike Yeo is tinkering with the lines after Minnesota had 39 shots against the Florida Panthers on Sunday but lost 2-1.

"We did a lot of good things last game," Yeo said. "I felt we deserved a better outcome. Sometimes after a game like that you have a letdown. I want to make sure we don't have a letdown."

Parise will be joined on the top line by center Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek.

"We've been bouncing around everything the last little while so I don't think anyone's surprised to see some different units together," Parise said. "We're not scoring enough. We can't win every game 1-0. Eventually we've got to start putting three goals in. We've got to create more in the offensive zone."

The strategy is fine as long as the other end of the ice is not neglected.

"We've still got to make sure to play a very solid defensive game and then go from there," right wing Nino Niederreiter said.

Here are the projected lineups:


Zach Parise - Mikko KoivuThomas Vanek

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Chris Porter - Jarret Stoll - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Darcy Kuemper (undisclosed), Ryan Carter (hand)

Scratched: Tyson Strachan


Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Gregory Campbell

Rene Bourque - William Karlsson - Jared Boll

Ryan Murray - David Savard

Jack Johnson - Cody Goloubef

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Anton Forsberg

Joonas Korpisalo

Injured: Markus Hannikainen (shoulder), Matt Calvert (knee), Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Clarkson (upper body), Curtis McElhinney (ankle)

Scratched: Justin Falk, Kevin Connauton

Status report: Carter could have played if necessary but, "We said, 'Let's rest.' It's been nagging him for a little bit," Yeo said. Strachan, a former Ohio State University defenseman (2003-07), was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Friday but has yet to dress. … Goloubef returns after missing 19 games because of a broken jaw.

Who's hot: Saad is 6-5-11 during a seven-game point streak. Dubinsky and Foligno each have four assists in two games. Johnson had the first two-goal game of his career and an assist against the Capitals on Saturday. … The Wild have scored first in seven of their past 12 games and are 17-3-2 when doing so this season. Minnesota is 11-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1 when ahead after two.

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