Game Preview: Blue Jackets Look To Defeat Red Wings In Second Game of Back-to-Back

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 28, 2021 at 7:05 am
Mar 27, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) skates with the puck defended by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek (17) in the third period at Little Caesars Arena.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, to put it bluntly, was terrible.

11–20–4 (26 points)

3:00 P.M. – SUNDAY, MAR. 28


The Blue Jackets let the Red Wings walk all over them from the get-go, and Detroit went up 2-0 behind goals from Adam Erne and Robby Fabri that were just 29 seconds apart. Columbus fought back, but the Red Wings held on for a 3-1 win.

"I told you before the trip started, you're gonna find out a lot about who we are as individuals, as a team, as we go on this trip. I saw some terrific things out of certain people today. I saw some things that worried me terribly with others," said John Tortorella postgame. The Blue Jackets' head coach said those worries were not about X's and O's. They had to do with effort.

Nick Foligno was the only Blue Jacket to get on the scoresheet yesterday, and it came from a nice feed off the stick of Alexandre Texier, who made his return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games.

The Blue Jackets needed to take four points from this trip, especially with their next six games being against the Tampa Bay Lightning (4) and the Florida Panthers (2). That being said, they still have a chance to take two this afternoon.

Elvis Merzlikins will likely make his second consecutive start, as Joonas Korpisalo is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Dean Kukan and Riley Nash, who were healthy scratches yesterday, may come back into the lineup due to the Blue Jackets' subpar performance.

Here's a look at tonight's projected (and subject to change) lines for Columbus:

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 11 Kevin Stenlund 29 Patrik Laine
16 Max Domi 96 Jack Roslovic 13 Cam Atkinson
38 Boone Jenner 42 Alexandre Texier 71 Nick Foligno
23 Stefan Matteau 49 Ryan MacInnis 50 Eric Robinson

*lines are subject to change

8 Zach Werenski 3 Seth Jones
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 58 David Savard
53 Gabriel Carlsson 15 Michael Del Zotto
Goalie Backup
90 Elvis Merzlikins 33 Cam Johnson


  • NO SLEEPWALKING: At one point in the first period yesterday, the Red Wings were outshooting the Blue Jackets 15-2, and shot attempts were 28-2, Detroit. Those numbers would be unacceptable if the Blue Jackets were playing Tampa Bay or Carolina, and they're even more unacceptable because they're playing Detroit. They need to find their feet much more quickly in this one, and not get behind the 8-ball so quickly.
  • WELCOME BACK, TEX: Texier impressed in his return to the lineup, and the line comprised of him, Boone Jenner, and Foligno were the Blue Jackets' best line yesterday. The trio notched 15 shot attempts while only giving up seven, and they came together to give the Blue Jackets their only tally of the day. Texier made the most of his opportunity, and he'll have another chance to prove himself to Tortorella today.
  • WHO COMES IN?: There's no question that Tortorella is planning to make lineup changes after what transpired yesterday. Mikhail Grigorenko, Mikko Lehtonen, Riley Nash, Dean Kukan, and Scott Harrington are all waiting in the wings, and one or more of them will likely draw in tonight.

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