COLUMBUS -- Watching from the press box is an unfamiliar concept for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin so it's understandable why he's happy the game Saturday against the Boston Bruins in Nationwide Arena is a matinee: the sooner he gets back on the ice the better.
Tyutin played all 48 games last season and at least 80 in each of three of the past four seasons with the Blue Jackets but he missed the first three this season after dealing with a lower-body injury near the end of the preseason.
"After you miss a few games it's exciting to get back with the guys, first with practice and then to play the games," he said.
Coach Todd Richards said Tyutin will play against the Bruins but acknowledged Friday that the deciding which defenseman will sit will be harder than anticipated because of the progress shown by Ryan Murray and David Savard.
After losing the season opener 4-3 to Calgary, the Jackets went on the road to defeat the New York Islanders in a shootout and Thursday in Buffalo bested the Sabres 4-1 as the rookie Murray recorded his first NHL assist.
Murray seems a lock to stay in the lineup and Richards specifically said so will Savard, who was considered the eighth defenseman coming out of training camp, but has two assists and is tied with center Brandon Dubinsky for the team lead with a plus-three rating.
"The way Savard's played, the way Ryan Murray's played - all of those guys have done a good job," Richards said. "That's what you want, your young guys making cases for them to stay in the lineup."
As Richards and his staff ponder who Tyutin replaces, another question is whether Tyutin will pair with Jack Johnson as he did in the preseason games.
Meanwhile, fourth-line right wing Jared Boll made his season debut against the Sabres after a lower-body injury cost him the first two games despite his best effort to be ready.
"You've got to remember it's an 82-game season," he said. "You don't want to do anything to make you miss anymore than you already are."
One player the Bruins won't see on the ice is former teammate Nathan Horton. The right wing, who signed a free agent contract with the Blue Jackets in July after three seasons in Boston, is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
He likely won't be available until at least sometime in December, after the three-game season series is completed Nov. 30 in Boston.
The Bruins are coming off a 2-0 home loss Thursday to Colorado despite 38 shots on goal and coach Claude Julien was not expected to make any changes among the forward lines. He told the Boston media Friday he needs to get defenseman Matt Bartkowski into the lineup at some point since he has yet to play.
Bartkowski played college hockey just a few miles north of Nationwide Arena for Ohio State from 2008-10.
Here are the expected lineups for the Bruins and Blue Jackets on Saturday in Nationwide Arena:
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Injured: Carl Soderberg (ankle)
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski
NOTES: Soderberg practiced Friday with the team for the first time since being injured Sept. 27.
Cam Atkinson - Brandon Dubinsky - Marian Gaborik
Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - R.J. Umberger
Matt Calvert - Artem Anisimov - Blake Comeau
Mark Letestu - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll
Jack Johnson - Dalton Prout
Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin - David Savard
Scratched: Ryan Craig, Boone Jenner, Nikita Nikitin
NOTES: Calvert (groin) did not practice Friday and could be replaced by the rookie Jenner. Defenseman Tim Erixon was sent to Springfield (AHL) and Craig, a forward, recalled.