Two teams that have been in the conversation of near-contenders for a few years now will meet tonight at Nationwide Arena.
The Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets come into tonight's game with the exact same record (14-8-2), which is fitting with their storylines of being expansion teams from the exact same year, and are now trying to make a serious name for themselves.
The Wild certainly have held the crown of being the better team between the two in the totality of their histories, but neither clubs have won a championship, or even have been to a Stanley Cup final. But they're surely both on the hunt for those honors soon.
The Blue Jackets are coming off an interesting 7-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, and the message was clear: they can't afford to led their guard down against any team on any given night.
The Wild sit with the Blue Jackets just inside the top ten in the league in points, and look to keep themselves in their respective division races with two points tonight.
Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson
Foligno – Jenner – Anderson
Dubinsky – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand
Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen
Werenski – Jones
Murray – Nutivaara
Harrington – Savard
- It was reported on Wednesday that Anthony Duclair is day-to-day with a medical diagnosis of being "dinged up", a very professional hockey-like wording. Coach John Tortorella announced on Wednesday as well that Oliver Bjorkstrand would draw into the lineup, likely in place of Duclair on the third line. Bjorkstrand has two goals and two assists in 19 games played on the season.
- Seth Jones and Zach Werenski returned to the top pairing together on Monday night's game against Detroit, and though five goals against the team is concerning, the elite duo had a strong game. Werenski (eight) and Jones (six) led the team in scoring changes during the game, and led the team in ice time with nearly 20 minutes each. Let's let their chemistry continue to build back up and re-evaluate soon.
- The Wild have had almost nearly the same kind of rocky start to the season as the Blue Jackets have. After starting the season 1-1-3, they ripped off five straight wins, and have been up and down in the last 14 games since, going 8-6-0. They surely have a similar goal for consistency as the Blue Jackets do, setting up tonight's game to be a challenging one for both teams.