It has been a short while friends, so let us recap on the pre-season that was, the first couple of games of the regular season, and previewing tonight's upcoming matchup against the Buffalo Sabres at the Nationwide Arena, back at home.
Let's look in the rearview before we do the preview.
Pre-Season: Final Cuts; Dubi Disappearance
The roster dwindled down to two spots for the spares between six guys: Liam Foudy, Eric Robinson, Markus Hannikanen, Ryan Collins, Sonny Milano, and Vladislav Garikov. Dean Kukan was a lock as the seventh defenseman after his run late last season, as well as potentially being claimed off of the waiver wire by an opposing team. Between the six to be spares, head coach John Totrotella ended up deciding on three of five, as Liam Foudy was placed on season-opening injured reserve (SOIR) with an upper-body injury. Garikov was kept with the big club to prevent his desires of returning to the Kontinenal Hockey Leage (KHL). Milano was kept up as well due to fear of the waiver wire. This will do him favors pending the offseason issues. Hannikanen only had a limited window due to visa issues coming back to the United States to start the season. Robinson was the final forward cut from the main club, and Collins was the final cut overall from the roster.
The other major note from training camp was the mysterious wrist injury of veteran center Brandon Dubinsky. The aging center played the entire preseason, and earned three points.
Recap v. Toronto--> Boys Among Men
The Columbus Blue Jackets dropped the home opener to the Toronto Maple Leafs by the final score of 4-1.
Mitch Marner opened the scoring on the power play. Through a series of passing and opening the space, he scored his first goal of the season. Through the series of passing, Auston Matthews and Reilly were playing catch, until Reilly passed it to Marner, where Tavares was alone in the slot, and Tavares quickly shot it back over for the successful one-time shot over the blocker of Jonas Korpisalo. The second goal was scored after wonderful cycling behind the goal crease of Korpisalo. William Nylander came out from the behind the net to Reilly, who passed it to Cody Ceci and scored his first goal of the season.
Cam Atkinson got one on the scoreboard after goalie Frederik Andersen played with the puck for Camsanity's first firing of the cannon of the season.
Marner increased the lead with his second of the game after smoothly sliding past the Jackets' defense for his second of the game and season. On the powerplay in the third, Matthews was able to roof the puck over Korpi's glove for his third of the season.
Recap @ PIT--> Cracked Ice
The Penguins were able to waddle all over the Jackets, with a 7-2 stomping at the PPG Paints Arena.
Being at the arena and scouting the teams and having the expereince, the Arena presented everything for the crazy hockey fan and the average.
Let's focus on the game shall we, before diverting to far off course.
There was no goal scoring in the first period.
The goal scoring opened in the second, just shy of two minutes in with a boomer shot from defenseman Jack Johnson, which was deflected by Patric Hornqvist for his first of the season. Minutes later, Sidney Crosby protected the puck from the Jackets' defense, who passed it to defenseman Marcus Petterson for his first of the season.
Columbus' first goal of the game came from a collapse in front of the net. Nick Foligno passed the puck to Riley Nash where he moved the puck diagnoally to Zach Werenski, to put up his first goal of the season.
Pittsburgh's third and fourth goals of the game came from winger Jared McCann, for his first two of the season. McCann's speed and percision was able to get the puck past the swiss cheese of Elvis Merzlikins.
The fifth goal came from the powerplay by defenseman Kris Letang from the blueline. Patric Hornqvist scored his second of the game with crashing the net of Merzi. Teddy Bleuger scored his first of the season after shooting the puck over the blocker of Merzlikins.
Gustav Nyqvist scored his first as a Blue Jacket after being Murray down low.
The Columbus game brought a lot of firsts for the team, as there were two rookies in their first games in Garikov and Merzlikins, but the two rookies in Lilja and Bemstrom are having great Sweedish chemistry form in warmups and in the games. There is potential here for there to be an underrated success story.
Pre-Game v Buffalo
The Jackets and the Sabres face each other for the first time this season. Both young teams are looking to get to post season, as both have lots of optimism. The Sabres added Macrus Johansson, Jimmy Vessey, Collin Miller, and Henri Jokiharju this summer. Their main losses were money veterans in Jason Pomminville and Matt Moulson, but also lost prospect Alex Nylander.
The Jackets are looking to get their first win of the season, but will be without the services of Josh Anderson, who sustained an injury in practice.
Scratched: Rodrigues, Gilmour
Injured: Pilut, Bogosian, Hunwick, Montour, Luukkonen
Scratched: Garikov, Kukan
Injured: Dubinsky (Wrist), Foudy (upper-body), Anderson (undisclosed)
Players to Watch
Columbus: Milano. His first game of the season is sure to start his showcase to why he deserves to be on the main roster.
Buffalo: Eichel. Safest pick is to always pick the superstar