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Blue Jackets face Jets in Tortorella's home debut

by Craig Merz

JETS (6-3-1) at BLUE JACKETS (2-9-0)

TV: SN360, SN1, FS-O

COLUMBUS -- Because the Columbus Blue Jackets are off to a poor start, new coach John Tortorella doesn't have time to reflect on his first home game Saturday since replacing the fired Todd Richards on Oct. 21.

The Blue Jackets lost 2-1 at the Washington Capitals on Friday to end a road trip at 2-2-0 in the first four games with Tortorella, who said his focus is on the Winnipeg Jets and not his Nationwide Arena debut.

"I'm not even thinking that way," he said. "I'm thinking it's a team that needs to win consistently. You lose last night; you don't want to lose the next one. That's the situation we're in. That's all I’m concerned about, how we play tonight against a good team."

The Blue Jackets have lost four home games by combined score of 21-8.

"I don't care where we play. We just need to find a way to win," Tortorella said. "I'm certainly not disrespecting the home building and all that stuff but I just can't think that way. I just want us to get better each and every night."

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said he watched the Columbus-Washington game and has already noticed a change.

"It looked like a John Tortorella team to me all day long," he said. "They skated, they got on the body. They competed for every puck. It was all Washington could handle.

"They were fast and physical. You look at the roster. They have good players on the roster. It’s a deep roster up front for me."

Left wing Brandon Saad returns after missing one game because of illness and David Clarkson will be scratched. Right wing Jared Boll will play his first game for Tortorella as a replacement for Rene Bourque (healthy scratch).

"I'm hoping he bangs around and chases some pucks down," Tortorella said of Boll. "He's been a great pro sitting out here since I've been here.

"I think it's going to be a physical game. They're big team. They like to come at you. I think Boll will play a part in this. I'm hoping he adds something.

"Our fourth line hasn't given us enough forechecking. That's what I would like to see out of that line, spend a little more time in the end zone."

Sergei Bobrovsky will make his second straight start. Defenseman Fedor Tyutin is a healthy scratch for back-to-back games with Kevin Connauton taking his spot.

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Mathieu PerreaultMark ScheifeleNikolaj Ehlers

Alexander BurmistrovAdam LowryDrew Stafford

Nic PetanAndrew Copp - Chris Thorburn

Toby EnstromDustin Byfuglien

Ben ChiarotTyler Myers

Mark StuartJacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back)


Brandon Saad - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner- Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - William Karlsson

Matt Calvert - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Kevin Connauton - Dalton Prout

Cody Goloubef - Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: None.

Scratched: Fedor Tyutin, Rene Bourque, David Clarkson.

Status update: McElhinney is the only Blue Jackets player who has yet to play since Tortorella became coach.

Who's hot: The Jets have gone 3-1-1 against the Eastern Conference this season. … Ehlers has three goals and two assists during his current five-game point streak. … Bobrovsky in his past three games has a 2.02 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.

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