Gabriel Carlsson To Make Season Debut vs. Predators Saturday Night

By Jacob Nitzberg on February 20, 2021 at 10:55 am
Sep 28, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Gabriel Carlsson (53) passes the puck away from Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets' defensive depth has been tested this season.

Right now, they have two blue-liners sidelined. Zach Werenski is out with a lower-body issue, and David Savard will miss tonight's matchup with a non-COVID illness. 

The Blue Jackets' first-round pick in 2015, Gabriel Carlsson, will draw in for Savard. He'll play with Scott Harrington on the third pairing. The Swedish defenseman is a big and physical, defense-first player, and he's looking to make an impact tonight.

"I think I just have to go out there and play loose. Play hard out there, close guys out, then join the rush and try to create as much offense as possible," said Carlsson, who has tallied 0-3-3 in 23 regular-season games with Columbus.

"You can't get too over-excited and try to do too much out there. Just kinda start with the basics, and go from there." 

Alexandre Texier, who did not practice yesterday, will remain in the lineup for tonight's contest. The Frenchman looked to be in discomfort after blocking a shot with his leg against Nashville on Thursday night.

Elvis Merzlikins will get his second-straight start between the pipes after pitching a 32-save shutout on Thursday. Joonas Korpisalo will back him up. John Tortorella has said that he'll go with whoever has the hot hand, and right now, that's Merzlikins, who is 3-1 in his last three starts with a 1.75 GAA and a .948 save percentage.

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