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Blue Jackets' Umberger game-time decision

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets could be without forward RJ Umberger when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

Umberger left the ice early during the morning skate, putting his status in doubt to play.

"He'll be a game-time decision, but we're expecting him to play," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.

Umberger, 31, has been a steady producer for the Blue Jackets this season with 16 goals and 31 points in 60 games. He's slated to be on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. If he winds up out of the lineup, Corey Tropp or Blake Comeau would jump into the lineup.

Richards said there wouldn't be any changes to the lineup from the last game, a 6-3 win against the Florida Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky was the first goalie off at the morning skate and will start.

Columbus heads into the game having won both prior meetings against Toronto this season and by sizable margins.

The Blue Jackets took a 5-2 decision at home on Oct. 25 and blew out the Maple Leafs in Toronto 6-0 on Nov. 25. They're not expecting things to come easy this time around.

"We can't expect anything like that tonight," defenseman James Wisniewski said. "We know how well this team has been playing. They've played great at home. They'll make you pay if you don't come and bring your A-game. We're looking for a hard-nosed battle tonight."

The Maple Leafs have been on a roll lately, going 11-2-3 in the past 16 games. Forwards Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk have been a big part of that success, combining for seven goals and eight assists in the past four games.

"You have to make them play in their defensive zone," Wisniewski said. "They don't want to play there. When we get the puck we have to make sure our transitions are sharp and we're not fumbling the puck and turning the puck over and letting them gain all their speed. That's how they make their living, off the transition. If we can make them play in their own zone and come 200 feet, that'll be a benefit to us."

The Maple Leafs did not skate Monday morning and Jonathan Bernier is expected to start in goal. The team also placed forward Frazer McLaren on waivers.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs:


Boone JennerRyan JohansenNathan Horton

Nick FolignoArtem AnisimovMarian Gaborik

R.J. UmbergerBrandon DubinskyCam Atkinson

Matt CalvertDerek MacKenzieMark Letestu

Jack JohnsonDavid Savard

James WisniewskiRyan Murray

Nikita NikitinDalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Blake Comeau, Corey Tropp, Cody Goloubef,

Injured: Fedor Tyutin (IR – ankle), Jared Boll (IR – ankle), Jack Skille (IR – upper-body)


James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulNazem KadriDavid Clarkson

Mason RaymondTrevor SmithNikolai Kulemin

Paul RangerJay McClementTroy Bodie

Dion PhaneufCarl Gunnarsson

Jake GardinerCody Franson

Morgan RiellyTim Gleason

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Frazer McLaren (on waivers), Colton Orr

Injured: Dave Bolland (IR – ankle tendon), Carter Ashton (IR – hand)

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