Crashing the Net: Scrambled lines and an NHL debut
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Stuck in the midst of a three-game losing streak, Blue Jackets bench boss Todd Richards broke a couple of eggs and scrambled his line combinations in hopes of sparking some offense.
Coming into Friday night’s tilt with the New York Rangers, they have an 18-20-3 record and have been outshot 103-54 over the last three games. The Rangers have been shutout in their last two games after winning 13 of their previous 14.
The biggest move in the line scramble is Brandon Dubinsky centering Corey Tropp and Jared Boll on the fourth line. You may recall that Dubinsky took an undisciplined boarding penalty late in the third period against the Montreal Canadiens that led to the 3-2 loss on Wednesday evening. This would be the sunny-side down portion of the menu.
"Coming out of our last three games," said Richards, "I’m not happy with how we’ve played, so we’re looking to make changes. It’s as simple as that."
Alex Wennberg will center the second line, with Cam Atkinson and Jeremy Morin on his wings. Wennberg has played much better, utilizing his body and skill more effectively in his second stint with the Blue Jackets this season. Consider this the sunny-side up part of the meal.
Josh Anderson, recalled from the Springfield Falcons Thursday, is being thrown right into the fire and will make his NHL debut tonight versus the Rangers.
"He’s playing well right now in the (AHL)," said Richards of Anderson. "He’s big, strong, skate up and down the wing and play physical. He’s going to bring some good energy to our group tonight."
Anderson will be skating on one side of Mark Letestu, with Sean Collins on the opposite side. He’s a big kid, drafted in 2012 by the Blue Jackets. He’s got 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points in 37 games for the Falcons this season. This is looking like a plate on the over-easy side.
"It’s definitely exciting," said Anderson. "I was looking forward to this all year and just waiting for my turn. Being in the lineup against the New York Rangers makes this even better."
Matt Calvert was ill Friday morning and saw a doctor. According to Todd Richards, it is not serious. He said that Calvert will get some rest and be a game-time decision.
On the blue line, Dalton Prout will be paired with Fedor Tyutin in place of Cody Goloubef.
With every game being a BIG game for the Blue Jackets and the Rangers nursing a two-game losing streak, this has the potential to be a chippy affair.
"I think they’re in the same (losing) situation as us," said David Savard. "Obviously, they are higher in the standings (8th in the East). I think it will be a hard-fought game. There’s also a history with all the trades (between the teams). So, both teams want to win and it should be a good game."
Blue Jackets (projected) lineup
Forwards: Hartnell / Johansen / Foligno
Morin / Wennberg / Atkinson
Collins / Letestu / Anderson
Tropp / Dubinsky / Boll
Defense: Johnson / Savard
Wisniewski / Connauton
Tyutin / Prout