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 Stars meet for the second time this season, tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The Blue Jackets' road trip has, so far, been a dud. They were blown out by the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Whatever's worse than a blowout is what happened Tuesday in Nashville; Columbus was out of the game before the first period was over. Elvis Merzlikins was done after three goals on six shots, and Joonas Korpisalo didn't fare much better.
This is all about all we have to report from Tuesday's 6-0 defeat.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (12-8-0) vs. Stars (11-7-2)
WHERE: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 97.1 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
The Blue Jackets wanted to carry some solid play around the Thanksgiving holiday into their four-game road trip. Thus far, it's been left behind in Columbus.
Sporting a 12-3 aggregate through two games, it's safe to say they've yet to play anywhere near their best. In Nashville, it's almost like they forgot to get off the bus.
All that's waiting for them is a Dallas Stars team that's playing its best hockey of the season. The Stars have won five in a row and six of seven, most recently a thrashing of the NHL's top team, the Carolina Hurricanes. The last time the Blue Jackets saw the Stars, they were a sputtering, listless group and head coach Rick Bowness was calling timeouts at Nationwide Arena simply to lay into his team for 90 consecutive seconds.
Times have changed for both teams, it would appear. This is an important game for the Blue Jackets to get themselves right and salvage what's been an ugly trip.
ALL-TIME: Shield your eyes. The Blue Jackets are 31-31-7 in 69 regular-season meetings with the Stars, including a 14-17-2 record on the road. Columbus went 3-4-1 against Dallas in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season when both teams played in the "new" Central Division.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- A Better Start: The Blue Jackets couldn't have started worse on Tuesday night if they tried. An improvement in this regard shouldn't be a significant challenge.
- Help The Goalie: We don't yet know if Elvis Merzlikins or Daniil Tarasov will start tonight's game for Columbus, but whoever it is, they need help. Brad Larsen pulling Merzlikins in the first period of Tuesday's game wasn't so much a reflection of goaltending as it was total team play. The Blue Jackets, from top to bottom, were a defensive-zone nightmare.
- Back to Normal: Larsen made sweeping changes to his lines prior to Tuesday's game, but they lasted all of 30 minutes before the Blue Jackets were back to their "original" lines and pairs. There's at least continuity in their lines, and has been for most of the season. We'll see if that translates to a bit more offensive success tonight.
From the head coach...