Three Thoughts: Useful Tune-Up for Blue Jackets Regulars, Prime Opportunity for the Contenders, and Bobrovsky Appears Ready to Go

By Rob Mixer on September 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm
Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno
Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

Quick recap: the Blue Jackets scored first, led by two goals after two periods, surrendered a third-period lead and eventually won in a shootout tonight in Nashville.

Both teams dressed veteran lineups, but on the Columbus side, the Blue Jackets also gave a handful of roster hopefuls another crack. Tyler Motte, Sonny Milano and Zac Dalpe were among those under consideration who dressed for the Blue Jackets' 4-3 win at Bridgestone Arena, a win that moves them to 3-3-1 in the exhibition.

The game was just about an even split at 5-on-5 (Nashville attempted 46 shots, Columbus 45) and the Blue Jackets out-shot the Predators 30-24. Sergei Bobrovsky made another preseason start, and we'll touch on his performance below.


  • Top Line Tune-Up: The Blue Jackets have to like what they've seen from Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg in their limited action together. They were fun to watch, pinning the Predators in their own zone on a few shifts and generating scoring chances with ease. Columbus' best 5-on-5 play drivers were the second line of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno and Pierre-Luc Dubois (also a good sign), but the No. 1 unit had its share of dynamic moments -- including a dominant puck possession shift in the second period, during which the Blue Jackets executed nearly two full line changes. Panarin led all forwards with 22:20 of ice time.
  • One Center, One Wing: With Brandon Dubinsky on the mend and seemingly close to a return, it's not clear how long Foligno will play center (but he's looked serviceable in doing so). On his left side, Dubois played a third straight game as a winger and looks awfully confident. He's as close to a lock as one can be at this point, and has formed a solid line that John Tortorella used often in this game (all three players played at least 17 minutes with Foligno topping out at 19:39).
  • Sharp Bob-ject: Bobrovsky was beaten three times in regulation, but let's look right past that. He was awesome. Two point-blank pad saves on Ryan Johansen in the second period left the former Blue Jacket looking skyward, and among his 21 saves were 3-4 eye-openers. He is likely to start again Saturday in Pittsburgh, according to Tortorella. And if tonight is any indication, the No. 1 goaltender is on form with the season opener a week away.


The Blue Jackets conclude their eight-game preseason schedule on Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 4 p.m. start at PPG Paints Arena that will air on NHL Network.

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