Skip to main content

Tom Gulitti

Wennberg out for Blue Jackets in Game 2 against Capitals

Columbus center day to day with upper-body injury; Milano to enter lineup

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Alexander Wennberg will not play for the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVAS2, NBCSWA, FS-O).

The center was injured on a hit from Capitals forward Tom Wilson in the third period of a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 on Thursday. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said Saturday that Wennberg is day to day.

Nick Foligno will move up from the third line to take Wennberg's spot centering the second line between Boone Jenner and Thomas Vanek.

 

[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

Wennberg had 35 points (eight goals, 27 assists) in 66 games during the regular season, including 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 17 games after being put on the line with Jenner and Vanek. Wennberg's goal 4:48 into the second period started the Blue Jackets' comeback from being down 2-0 in Game 1.

"It's a big loss up the middle, especially for our line," Vanek said. "I think we were going pretty well and I thought his game was going well too. He scored a big goal for us. Really, it could have elevated him even more, so it's tough to lose him, but it's part of the game. You're going to lose guys. Some other guys have to step up."

Video: CBJ@WSH, Gm1: Wennberg chips home Jenner's dish

With Wennberg out, rookie Sonny Milano will enter the Columbus lineup after being a healthy scratch in Game 1. He'll skate at left wing on the third line with Brandon Dubinsky at center and Josh Anderson on right wing.

Milano, the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, had 22 points (14 goals, eight assists) in 55 regular-season games. The 21-year-old had five points (two goals, three assists) in nine games with Cleveland in the American Hockey League.

This will be Milano's second Stanley Cup Playoff game. He had no points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

"I'm pretty excited," Milano said. "I'm just going to keep playing the same way, try not to change a thing."

Tortorella said Milano has yet to completely grasp the defensive side of the game but has the skill to make a difference offensively.

"He's another guy that can make something out of nothing and score a big goal for you," Tortorella said. "We've gone with that attitude here the last couple years; we're not going to play safe. We're going to take some chances. I think Sonny is very attentive as far as learning the other side of the puck. Has he mastered it? Not by any stretch. There's still a lot of things he needs to learn, but he can make an offensive play."

Having won once on the road, the Blue Jackets can take control with another win in Game 2. The series shifts to Columbus for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday.

"Just because you win one doesn't make it good enough," Foligno said. "You need four in a series. We have a great opportunity in front of us against a team that's going to come out just as hungry and hard, and it's going to be an even harder game than it was in Game 1. So we have to be ready for that."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.