The home stand for the Blue Jackets continues in a final matchup tonight with a battle with Brooklyn. The Blue Jackets are fresh off their mandatory five day bye week, and the team prepares itself to take on one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Islanders switched head coaches from Jack Capuono to Doug Weight, and the team has benefited greatly from the change. The Islanders currently hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a Wild Card spot. The Columbus Blue Jackets are one point behind the Rangers for third in the Metropolitan Division, but the Jackets have two games in hand on New York.
The Islanders and Blue Jackets have already played twice this season. The Jackets won the first game during their 16 game winning streak, with a 6-2 blowout. The Islanders won 4-2 after the coaching change occurred.
The Jackets have undergone a series of roster moves and lineups. The Jackets put Lukas Sedlak and Matt Calvert on the IR with upper-body injuries. The Jackets have demoted Anton Forsberg and promoted Joonas Korpisalo. The Jackets have put Brandon Saad on the fourth line as a message to improve his production. Sam Gagner has been moved to center due to the injury of Sedlak.
The goalie matchup is Joonas Korpisalo and Thomas Greiss. A very interesting call by Tortorella to have Korpisalo to start tonight, but since the Jackets play the Rangers tomorrow, they must feel that Bobs should play that game over this one.
New York Islanders
Andres Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin – Bracken Kearns – Stephen Gionta
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Scott Mayfield
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Injured : Mikhail Grabovski, Travis Hamonic, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno – Alex Wennberg – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner—Brandon Dubinsky – Cam Atkinson
Markus Hannikanen – William Karlsson – Josh Anderson
Brandon Saad – Sam Gagner – Scott Hartnell
Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Ryan Murray – Markus Nutivarra
Scratched: Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington
Injured: Lukas Sedlak, Matt Calvert, David Clarkson
Players to Watch
Brooklyn: Andrew Ladd. Ladd is a former Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks that took the big bucks to sign in New York. He has struggled in the first half of his first season as a New York Islander. Since then, his current stats are 16 goals and six assists on the season. The veteran winger has been playing a lesser role as of late, as he is slated to be on the third line tonight. However, he has an average of 15:51 in ice time.
Columbus: Brandon Saad. Like Saad, he is also a Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, but was dealt to Columbus because of contract issues. Saad has played a lot of top line minutes (17:10 average ice time) with Columbus this season, but has been demoted to the fourth line tonight. Saad has 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points on the season. Head coach John Tortorella is giving Saad a wake-up call with this adjustment this evening.
Enjoy the games tonight…
More to come…
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