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Blue Jackets shuffle lines against Predators

by John Manasso

NASHVILLE -- Coming off a disappointing 6-1 loss Thursday to the Chicago Blackhawks that snapped a three-game winning streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to shuffle their forwards when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets also might have a new face on defense, as well, owing to a slew of injuries to their blue line.

Columbus coach Todd Richards said forward Blake Comeau, who has played in one of the past 20 games because of a knee injury, would return, as would Corey Tropp.

"Adding Tropp in the lineup, Comeau in the lineup, some physical players … getting some guys in the lineup, some straight-line players that can hopefully provide a physical edge for us but also just a spark in getting in on the forecheck," Richards said.

With Comeau and Tropp in, Richards revealed he might scratch forwards Cam Atkinson and Matt Frattin.

"Just trying to find guys. It's not like he [Atkinson] was the only bad player in Chicago," Richards said. "We had other guys, too. It's trying to find the right line combinations, trying to find the right things that will work. We'll see how this game goes. We may be juggling the lineup, juggling players in and out of the lineup on Monday but I believe [with] this group we're going to have success."

In terms of their defense, the Blue Jackets will likely have three regulars out. Fedor Tyutin remains on injured reserve following an ankle injury he sustained at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nikita Nikitin sustained a head injury Thursday and is not expected to play.

Rookie defenseman Ryan Murray, who has played in 61 games and averaged 19:47 in time on ice, had knee surgery Friday and will miss the rest of the regular season, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

One of two rookies, either Frederic St. Denis or Cody Goloubef, is going to take Nikitin's spot in the lineup. Murray's absence has been filled in part by the acquisition of Nick Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers.

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Blue Jackets:


Nick FolignoRyan JohansenBoone Jenner

Matt CalvertBrandon DubinskyNathan Horton

RJ UmbergerArtem AnisimovCorey Tropp

Blake ComeauDerek MacKenzieMark Letestu

Jack JohnsonDavid Savard

Nick SchultzJames Wisniewski

Frederic St, DenisDalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: Nikita Nikitin (head), Ryan Murray (knee), Fedor Tyutin (ankle), Jared Boll (ankle)

Scratched: Cody Goloubef, Cam Atkinson, Matt Frattin.


Nick SpalingMike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Gabriel Bourque - Colin WilsonCraig Smith

Eric Nystrom - Matt CullenViktor Stalberg

Rich ClunePaul GaustadPatrick Eaves

Roman JosiShea Weber

Michael Del ZottoRyan Ellis

Mattias EkholmSeth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Victor Bartley

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