The Columbus Blue Jackets (25-18-3) will be back on the ice at Nationwide Arena this evening with a matchup against the Dallas Stars (26-17-3). The puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
There’s been plenty of “noise” from the media and fans alike regarding the Columbus Blue Jackets since a loss at Nationwide Arena last Friday night. The offense hasn’t scored more than two regulation goals in their past seven games and Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported that defenseman Jack Johnson has requested a trade.
Tonight the team will look to fight through the off-the-ice distractions since the aforementioned 5-2 loss at home to the Canucks last Friday and find a way to start burying the biscuit at a more effective rate with the Stars coming to Columbus, Ohio.
Dallas lost to the CBJ in their first game of the new year by a score of 2-1, but have won four of their last five games coming into this evening. The Stars are currently in the midst of a so-far-so-good four-game road trip, with the Jackets being the third game on the slate (the Stars won the first two games of the four-game stint against Boston and Detroit respectively on Monday and Tuesday).
Meanwhile, the Jackets have been getting well rested and have acquired 34-year-old Jussi Jokinen off waivers.
Jokinen will look to provide a much-needed boost to the CBJ offense. This season for Jokinen has been a disappointment thus far, with a combined one goal and four assists while averaging less than 12 minutes of ice time per game. However, Jokinen impressed statistically as recently as two seasons ago, when he racked up 18 goals and 42 assists for the Florida Panthers.
Columbus’ offensive struggles haven’t been helped out by injuries, with Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky and Sonny Milano all healing up while the team has failed to find a flow on O.
Tonight the CBJ will attempt to take advantage of their recent break in front of a home crowd, while the Stars, on the other hand, will look to win the first three games of their current four-game road stretch.