Raise your hand if you had the Anaheim Ducks winning their first three games out of the gate.
3–0–0 (6 points)*
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7 P.M. – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
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Ok, so it wasn't just us.
In his first season behind the Anaheim bench, Dallas Eakins is tasked with rejuvenating a Ducks team that features promising young players (Rickard Rakell, Max Steel, and others) with established veterans like captain Ryan Getzlaf. It's been a tough couple of years for the Ducks, and even more so because they're wasting prime years of star goaltender John Gibson.
They've looked impressive thus far, winning three straight and giving Gibson plenty of support in the early going. This will be a test for the Blue Jackets, who haven't played since Monday when they beat the Buffalo Sabres in overtime at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus' best showing of the young season was that game on Monday, when they handily out-shot and out-chanced the Sabres, who came into the contest with plenty of confidence and offensive firepower. Despite giving up a late lead, Alexandre Texier saved the day with an overtime goal that gave the Blue Jackets their first win of the season.
And while it's early, there's no doubt that John Tortorella's message is one of building layers: turning one good performance into another and developing the "swagger" that he so often speaks of.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
Joonas Korpisalo is expected to get the start in goal.
- Where's Andy? The Blue Jackets will again be without power forward Josh Anderson, as Tortorella told reporters on Thursday that he remains out of the lineup with an upper body injury. While the injury is considered "day to day," this marks the second straight game Anderson has missed, having not played since last Saturday in Pittsburgh.
- Carry The Mail. It sure feels like Tortorella is giving Korpisalo the chance to cement himself as the No. 1 goaltender. They feel comfortable with him and Korpisalo's teammates seem to be relishing the opportunity to help him prove himself, especially after spending the last several seasons in Sergei Bobrovsky's shadow. It wouldn't be too shocking to see Korpisalo make both starts this weekend, but on the other hand, they can't let Elvis Merzlikins sit and stew for too long.
- Keep It Rolling. The Blue Jackets have weaponized their power play in the first three games – which is something that could not be said for their power play the last few years. Yes, it's early, but there are personnel and systematic changes implemented that give Columbus a different, more unpredictable look than we've seen. They've been crisp on their entries and have not been shy in shooting the puck; one of their opportunities on Monday night produced six shots on goal.