Blue Jackets try to overcome injuries against Leafs

( – The hobbled Columbus Blue Jackets will try to halt a
three-game skid when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for Friday’s battle
at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus has been handed three straight regulation setbacks and lost each of
its last two outings by 5-2 margins. The Blue Jackets are 4-5-0 this season,
and the slow start has more than a little to with the club’s inability to stay

The Blue Jackets have been beset by injuries in the first month of the season,
and two more names were added to the list on Wednesday as defenseman James
Wisniewski and center Mark Letestu were both placed on injured reserve.
Wisniewski is expected to be sidelined for 1-to-2 weeks with a broken finger
he suffered in Tuesday’s game against Ottawa. Letestu could be out for a month
with a groin injury he sustained against the Senators.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is also out with a broken finger, while forwards
Artem Anisimov (head), Matt Calvert (upper body) and Nick Foligno (stinger)
have also been hurt since last weekend. Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and
Boone Jenner have yet to play this season because of injuries.

Foligno, however, could play tonight after missing Tuesday’s loss to Ottawa.

After losing 5-2 in Los Angeles on Sunday, Columbus returned home and fell to
the Senators by the same margin. The score was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes,
but Ottawa scored three unanswered goals in the third to notch the victory.

“We just ran out of gas,” Blue Jackets forward Adam Cracknell said. “We lost
some guys and made some mistakes.”

David Savard and Cam Atkinson each netted goals in the loss, while Curtis
McElhinney made 29 saves in place of an injured Bobrovsky.

McElhinney expects to start again tonight with Anton Forsberg serving as the

The Maple Leafs hope to take advantage of the injury-riddled Blue Jackets
tonight after winning for the second time in three games by downing lowly
Buffalo on Tuesday.

Jonathan Bernier only needed to stop 10 shots to post a shutout against the
Sabres, while Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist en
route to a 4-0 home win. The 10 shots allowed set a Maple Leafs record for
fewest shots yielded in a game.

James van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner also scored and Morgan Rielly supplied
two helpers for the Maple Leafs, who will try to win consecutive games tonight
for the second time this season.

“Our expectation is to carry this on to the next one,” Toronto head coach
Randy Carlyle said of the win. “Tonight, everything fell our way and we’ll
take it because we were in drastic need of a performance at home.”

While the Leafs have struggled to a 2-4-0 record at home, they are unbeaten in
regulation on the road, going 2-0-1 as the guest.

Columbus is 2-2-0 at home this season and has two wins in five all-time
meetings with Toronto at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets have taken three
in a row and four of the past five meetings overall.