The Blue Jackets are starting to get their legs underneath them.
1–2–1 (3 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8:30 P.M. – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
A week ago, this would've seemed like a far cry from reality. They were an up-and-down, unpredictable lot searching for any modicum of consistency. They've been in every game, but the inability to finish scoring chances (of which they've had plenty) has plagued them and resulted in leaving points on the table.
Things started to turn around late in their game against the Anaheim Ducks, a 2-1 loss at home. A road win in Raleigh over an unbeaten Hurricanes team seemed to invigorate the Blue Jackets and validate what they'd been working on – and despite an untimely four-day layoff before their next game, were able to pick up where they left off against Dallas.
Perhaps the most overlooked story in the Blue Jackets' back-to-back wins, more so than the emergence of Alexander Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand starting hot, has been the steady play of Joonas Korpisalo. What many thought to be a goaltending competition going into the season has become anything but that, and his performance has earned him the mantle of No. 1 goaltender.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
- Don't back down. The Blackhawks love to start fast at United Center and the first 10 minutes can be dizzying. Based on the way they've started the last few games, the Blue Jackets should be ready. They've played "on their toes," borrowing a term from John Tortorella, and applied pressure using all four of their lines.
- Who gets the call? Tortorella has said he doesn't want to leave Elvis Merzlikins out of game action for too long. And while there's no "easier" game – and no such thing in the NHL these days, anyway – might he opt to give Merzlikins a shot tonight in Chicago? The Blue Jackets have a quick turnaround before they play the New York Islanders, a division rival, tomorrow night at Nationwide Arena. We'll keep an eye on this.
- Shuffling the deck. The Blue Jackets had stuck with the same forward lines for a few games...that is, until late Saturday and into Wednesday's game. Nick Foligno is now skating with Alexander Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand, while Alexandre Texier is on a line with Boone Jenner and Emil Bemstrom. The first and fourth lines have remained intact.