Welcome back to The Warmup.
Here, you'll get everything you need to know – including keys to the game, where to watch and listen, and more – before the Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets got the rebound win they needed Monday, even though it wasn't the easiest of wins to lock down. They stormed to a 5-2 lead early in the second period before the Buffalo Sabres closed to within a goal, but Columbus shut the door the rest of the way (with two empty-net goals) en route to a 7-4 win at KeyBank Center.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (10-6-0) vs. Jets (9-5-4)
WHERE: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 105.7 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
The last time the Blue Jackets played a game at Nationwide Arena, they were rallying for a late 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. After a three-game road trip that was largely successful at 2-1-0 (save for a lousy effort in Las Vegas), they're back on home ice once again–and an old friend is paying a visit.
Yes, Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Jets are in town. Who knows what the reception will be? And to be fair, the Blue Jackets probably don't care. They're off to one of the best starts in team history and have a great opportunity to build on it this week with two games against Western Conference opponents. Columbus has its share of issues to deal with, too; Brad Larsen's team has been guilty of some poor puck management over the last handful of games and has seen its power play take a brief tumble.
If they're going to get two points against the Jets tonight, both of those areas need to get cleaned up.
ALL-TIME: The Blue Jackets are 14-14-0 in 28 regular-season meetings with the Jets/Thrashers, including a 7-7-0 record at Nationwide Arena. The home team has won four of the last five meetings in the series, but Columbus and Winnipeg did not meet in the 2020-21 season.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- Start Fast: You're back home. The building should be alive with a good crowd on-hand for the holiday week. The Blue Jackets shouldn't have an energy problem with a day off yesterday, which makes a good start pretty darn important.
- Special Teams: Basically, don't help the Jets out. They're a dangerous team with plenty of offensive weapons and keeping the game 5-on-5 benefits Columbus. When the Blue Jackets get their chance(s), they'll need to cash in. Winnipeg isn't a team that you want to trade chances with.
- Smart & Steady: If the Blue Jackets play a smarter game than they played in Vegas and in Buffalo, that's a pretty good starting point. The turnovers...oh, the turnovers. Neutral zone, defensive zone, offensive zone. They've been happening all over the ice and feeding into their opponents' transition attack. The less defending Columbus is asked to do, the better. Make the right play and live to fight another day.
From the head coach...