Three Thoughts: Sergei Bobrovsky Pitches a Gem, Artemi Panarin is On the Board and the Blue Jackets Close with a Preseason Win

By Rob Mixer on September 30, 2017 at 6:48 pm
Sergei Bobrovsky
Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports
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It's time to turn the page.

One final tune-up, one final look at potential combinations in game action.

The Columbus Blue Jackets made the most of the opportunity on Saturday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena. Sergei Bobrovsky made his second consecutive start and was the story for the Blue Jackets, looking his best yet and giving the team a confident feeling heading into their season opener next week.

Brandon Dubinsky made his preseason debut for the Blue Jackets and centered a line with Matt Calvert and Pierre-Luc Dubois as his wingers. Dubinsky showed no limitations and took face-offs throughout the game, which was an encouraging sign as he continues to recover from offseason wrist surgery.

Calvert, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Artemi Panarin scored goals for the Blue Jackets, who conclude the preseason with a 4-3-1 record. They were 0-2-1 to start it off but played better as they dressed more of their regular/projected lineup. There are still decisions to be made with a few players, and we'll discuss those below.


  • Bob's Ready: The Blue Jackets got a mixed bag from Bobrovsky early in the preseason, but he got back-to-back starts in Nashville and Pittsburgh against NHL lineups this week and looked like the Bob we've come to expect. Bobrovsky out-dueled Matt Murray (who was sharp for the Penguins) and recorded a 21-save shutout, giving him plenty of confidence with opening night on the horizon.
  • More Tinkering: Now is the time for coaches to tinker, and a second straight game of different combinations seems to indicate that John Tortorella isn't completely set on his opening night lineup. Nick Foligno remained at center today (and it appears he will be there next Friday, as well) but had Sonny Milano on his left instead of Pierre-Luc Dubois, who moved to a new line with Dubinsky and Calvert. Milano was engaged and showed off his vision on a few different occasions, and Tortorella gave him ample opportunity to state his case this afternoon.
  • Yeast Mode: Panarin is a treat to watch. The Blue Jackets got a glimpse today of what they traded for, a dynamic and skilled forward who adds a quick-strike element up front. They had a handful of scoring chances on one shift in the first period, and the guy making cross-ice and cross-seam passes to set it all up was Panarin, darting and shifting from half-wall to goal line back up high again. It's hard to keep track of him, as the Penguins found out today, and he seems to be fitting in nicely with Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson.
  • Bonus: Milano's gotta be on the team, right? This was his best performance to date, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Not sure if Zac Dalpe hurt his cause today or not, but a glaring open net miss in the third period was tough to see. Dalpe couldn't corral the puck in his skates, and when he got it on his stick, he sent it off the goal post and Murray was able to smother it.


The Blue Jackets open the regular season on Friday, Oct. 6 at Nationwide Arena against the New York (don't call 'em Brooklyn) Islanders. Look for season preview coverage throughout the week, right here at 1st Ohio Battery. Let's go.

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