Game Preview: Blue Jackets Looks To Bounce Back Against Strong Lightning Squad

By Sam Blazer on January 23, 2021 at 7:07 am
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster - USA Today Sports
3–0–0 (6 points)

2:00 P.M. – SATURDAY, JAN. 23



The Blue Jackets were the center of the hockey universe for one night and not for the right reasons.

The Blue Jackets home opener, while a spirited affair, was dominated by headlines about forward Pierre-Luc Dubois' benching. Despite the benching, no more answers about what will happen to the forward have been provided (as of this writing). It appears though that as of now he will be a healthy scratch in hopes that they will find a trade partner.

“I definitely have to be better" said Dubois to the assembled media. "As hockey players we all want to be out there. We all want to help the team make a difference. I can acknowledge that I can be better, I can be a better player. I haven’t had the start of the season that I wanted. Like I said, as a hockey players, it’s just in us to help the team win and be out there and help our teammates.”

The empty stands in the Blue Jackets first home game while odd, still felt a little like home cooking. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 21 seconds into the last meeting between the two teams and immediately put the Stanley Cup champions on their heels.

While the game would end in overtime as a loss for the Blue Jackets, it still felt slightly hopeful given their opponent and circumstances. They will get another opportunity at the Lightning who only played three games going into the afternoon matinee. Is the lack of games played a pro or a con? In the Blue Jackets case it may not matter. Score goals and ask questions later.

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

19 Liam Foudy 42 Alexandre Texier 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
71 Nick Foligno 16 Max Domi 13 Cam Atkinson
38 Boone Jenner 11 Kevin Stenlund 50 Eric Robinson
25 Mikhail Grigorenko 20 Riley Nash 24 Nathan Gerbe
8 Zach Werenski 3 Seth Jones
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 58 David Savard
15 Michael Del Zotto 14 Dean Kukan
Goalie Backup
70 Joonas Korpisalo 90 Elvis Merzlikins


  • The PLD ELEPHANT: The biggest thing coming into the Blue Jackets game against the Lightning on Saturday is going to be all of the news around forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. Dubois was benched ceremoniously in the first meeting between the two teams and it has made for a lot of headlines. It doesn't appear as of this writing that he will be traded, which can change in a moment's notice. Instead, it looks like Dubois is going to be an albatross no matter his status if he is on the Blue Jackets.
  • GOALIE TANGO: So far the Blue Jackets have been alternating goaltenders between Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins in hope that one of the two would take over the net with a great performance. Weighing their performance so far, Korpisalo has been the steadier of the two. Given the rotational schedule that they put the two on, it looks like Merzlikins is next up to bat. Is the competition still really open or could it be posturing to keep one or the other happy? 
  • OFFENSE OPTIONAL: One of the biggest issues for the Blue Jackets this year has been getting the puck into the back of the net. It hasn't changed yet and it doesn't look like it is going to change for a while unless a change is made. The current make up of the club has centers and wingers that don't like having the puck on their stick until they can pull the trigger. It is a problem when the defensemen on your team are the players that you feel most confident with the puck on their stick. They need someone other than Oliver Bjorkstrand to step up. When it happens, you may just see the team get a couple of wins.

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