Columbus Blue Jackets Wrestle With Lineup Decisions as Arizona Comes to Nationwide


It was not an ideal road trip for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who fell to the Florida Panthers on a late goal for the first time this year and then couldn’t find away to knock off the top team in the Atlantic Division in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But tonight, the Jackets return home to Nationwide Arena as they welcome in the Arizona Coyotes, and this game has all sorts of interesting things that could happen from it.

First of all, the Blue Jackets are looking for a bit of revenge. Now, granted, I’m sure they’re not harping too much on the ugly three goal loss to open play in 2015, but it certainly would be nice to dish out a home beatdown from the Blue Jackets end tonight.

Secondly, the Coyotes aren’t having the season they thought they’d be putting together (huh, sounds oddly familiar), and due to that fact, they seem to be open to the idea of trading anyone and everyone in order to turn things around. With the trade deadline approaching (March 2nd), this could be a time for the Jackets to see what the ‘Yotes have to offer, and potentially put together a deal for someone.

Finally, guessing how Columbus is going to line up is beyond anyone’s guess. Jeff Rimer tweeted this morning that it seems Anton Forsberg will be tonight’s starter (a move I definitely don’t hate – nothing against Curtis McElhinney, but I like watching Forsberg play and grow before our eyes), and with the Jackets being so happy with the play of Jordan Leopold as a winger on Saturday, they’re willing to move another defensemen up to a forward, as Kevin Connauton will be rocking on the fourth line today.

So, Leopold back in the D-pairings, Connauton on the fourth-line and a rookie in goal. Got it? Good. (Yeah, honestly, I’m still a bit confused as well.)

The ‘Yotes have seen better times, and are currently on a skid to the tune of dropping  eight of their last 10, but are coming off a 3-2 win in Montreal, with a rookie goalie in net (Louis Domingue, who came to the ‘Yotes from the Gwinnett Gladiators. No real point here, except the Gladiators are in my back yard back home in Atlanta, so a little shoutout there).

How do you feel about the experimentation with the lines and d-men? Forsberg in net – you like? Have a prediction for tonight? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us at @UnionandBlue.