Columbus Blue Jackets (3–1–0) at Minnesota Wild (1–1–1)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2017, 8 p.m. (XCEL ENERGY CENTER)
The Blue Jackets have fond memories of Xcel Energy Center.
Last time they played in this barn, they were head-to-head with the Wild in a battle of ridiculous win streaks. The Blue Jackets had won 14 straight and Minnesota entered on a 12-game run, and it was clear early on that the visitors were ready to go. Columbus grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second period and led 4-1 after 40 minutes, eventually leaving town with a 4-2 win — their 15th in a row.
Tonight, there are no lengthy streaks or records on the line, but it'll be a spirited game. The Wild have run into considerable injury issues and are adding at least three forwards from Iowa (AHL) for tonight's game, and will play without Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter.
The Blue Jackets come into the game winners of two straight, knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime on Tuesday and getting a clutch game-winner from Artemi Panarin last night to beat the New York Rangers.
You Oughta Know: Mikko Koivu
The Wild captain signed a two-year extension just prior to the season and is locked into Minnesota through 2020. He's been one of the more consistent players in franchise history, and in the absence of so many top forwards, Koivu's role becomes even more important.
Five Fast Facts
- Cam Atkinson (2x), Jack Johnson, Seth Jones scored in the Blue Jackets' dramatic New Year's Eve win in St. Paul a year ago. They would eventually go on to win 16 straight.
- Marcus Foligno, brother of Nick, is out tonight due to a facial fracture suffered in a fight on Thursday.
- Devan Dubnyk will start in goal for the Wild tonight. No word on who's in net for Columbus.
- Nick Foligno played in his 700th NHL game last night vs. the Rangers at Nationwide Arena.
- Blue Jackets forward Zac Dalpe, who has played in three of the club's four games, played nine games with the Wild in 2016-17.
THIS YEAR: First meeting (of two)
LAST SEASON: Columbus won both meetings
Keys to the Game
ONE: Light legs. The Blue Jackets traveled last night and arrived in St. Paul early this morning, so they won't skate today until the pre-game warmup. They need to be ready from the start against a Wild team that plays well at home.
TWO: Take advantage. Minnesota is icing a patchwork lineup tonight after injuries took out several top forwards, including Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter. The Blue Jackets are at their best when they're skating, forechecking and wearing down opposing defenses below the hashmarks.
THREE: Simple. The best road game is a simple one, and the Blue Jackets don't want to help the Wild feel good about themselves by turning pucks over.
Blue Jackets Projected Lineup
|9||Artemi Panarin||4 GP, 1-3-4||10||Alexander Wennberg||4 GP, 0-3-3||13||Cam Atkinson||4 GP, 1-0-1|
|22||Sonny Milano||4 GP, 4-0-4||71||Nick Foligno||4 GP, 0-3-3||28||Oliver Bjorkstrand||4 GP, 0-2-2|
|11||Matt Calvert||4 GP, 0-0-0||17||Brandon Dubinsky||4 GP, 0-0-0||77||Josh Anderson||2 GP, 0-0-0|
|18||Pierre-Luc Dubois||4 GP, 1-0-1||45||Lukas Sedlak||4 GP, 1-0-1||36||Zac Dalpe||3 GP, 0-0-0|
|8||Zach Werenski||4 GP, 1-2-3||3||Seth Jones||4 GP, 1-2-3|
|7||Jack Johnson||4 GP, 0-0-0||58||David Savard||4 GP, 0-0-0|
|27||Ryan Murray||4 GP, 1-1-2||4||Scott Harrington||0 GP, 0-0-0|