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Erixon, Nikitin return to Columbus blue line

by Staff

With one goal combined over a current two-game losing streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed some important reinforcements when they took to the ice Tuesday before their game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Blue Jackets defense, which has dealt with injuries through much of the season, saw Tim Erixon and Nikita Nikitin return to practice. The blueliners each had and upper-body injury but have been cleared to play against San Jose. Another defenseman, Dalton Prout, is a game-time decision.

Following a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, 20-year-old center Ryan Johansen was described as "banged up," and Michael Chaput was called up from Springfield of the American Hockey League in case Johansen couldn't play Tuesday. But after the morning skate, coach Todd Richards confirmed Johansen would be in the lineup.

Sergei Bobrovsky will start for the 16th time in Columbus' past 18 games. In one of the two games he didn't start in that span, Bobrovsky appeared in relief of Steve Mason on March 5 to earn a win over the Edmonton Oilers.

The team also reported this week that defenseman Ryan Murray, their top pick in the 2012 NHL Draft who has missed the entire season following shoulder surgery, has begun lifting weights.

Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:


Brent Burns - Joe Thornton - Martin Havlat

Tommy Wingels - Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture

TJ Galiardi - Joe Pavelski - Raffi Torres

Adam Burish - Andrew Desjardins - Scott Gomez

Dan Boyle - Justin Braun

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Matt Irwin

Brad Stuart - Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: D Scott Hannan (upper body), F Tim Kennedy (upper body)

Scratched: D Jason Demers, F James Sheppard


Vinny Prospal - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik

RJ Umberger - Mark Letestu - Nick Foligno

Matt Calvert - Ryan Johansen - Cam Atkinson

Colton Gillies - Derek MacKenzie - Blake Comeau

Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson

Dalton Prout - Nikita Nikitin

James Wisniewski - Tim Erixon

Sergei Bobrovsky

Michael Leighton

Injured: C Brandon Dubinsky (illness), RW Jared Boll (lower body)

Scratched: D Adrian Aucoin, C Michael Chaput

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