While Prout is the only Jacket calling tonight must-win — well, the only Jacket we’ve seen say it, anyway — it’s pretty clear the entire team considers tonight’s game a crucial one.
“It’s going to be a big effort by everyone [tonight],” Scott Hartnell said. “We’ve fooled around enough the first few games.”
Looking for a spark, head coach Todd Richards shuffled his lines at Wednesday’s morning skate. The most noteworthy shift was Boone Jenner‘s promotion to the top line next to Ryan Johansen and Brandon Saad.
Jenner, who scored 16 goals as a rookie and nine in 31 games during an injury-riddled ’14-15 campaign, is being counted on to bring his trademark work rate and energy to the Jackets’ top unit.
The Caps placed Collins on waivers this afternoon, per ESPN, with the move coming hours after Collins played just over eight minutes in Tuesday’s 5-0 blowout loss to San Jose.
A former seventh-round pick that had previously spent all of his professional career in the Columbus organization, Collins inked with the Caps this summer and impressed head coach Barry Trotz this fall with his work rate and lunch-bucket approach.
“It’s the consistency factor, the getting the job done,” Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “He’s not a Ferrari; he’s one of those useful pickup trucks that get the job done. He’d probably do a commercial for a truck company.
“That’s what he is. He’s the guy that can pick up a lot of stuff that some of those other guys can’t do and that’s really important to have.”
Waiving the 27-year-old may be linked to a pending roster move. It’s possible that Collins’ departure will pave the way for Nicklas Backstrom to come off IR and join the roster; Backstrom (hip) was taking line rushes with the team earlier this week while awaiting medical clearance from his surgeon.
The Caps have two more games at home this week — against Chicago and Carolina — before heading West for a three-game roadie through Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.
Stars put Eaves on IR after awkward fall versus Oilers
Per Stars Inside Edge, the injury is thought to be beyond a “day-to-day thing,”meaning Eaves could miss most, if not all, of Dallas’ upcoming four-game swing through Tampa Bay, Florida, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
With Eaves out, the Stars have recalled Curtis McKenzie from AHL Texas.
Losing the 31-year-old’s services will hurt. Eaves opened last night’s game on Dallas’ top line alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and is coming off a year in which he scored 14 goals and 27 points in just 47 games, missing time with a concussion.
Poll: Which of these 0-3 starts is most concerning?
Columbus: Beaten soundly by the Rangers, twice, to open the year. Then gave up three power-play goals to Buffalo on Monday.
Edmonton: Like Pittsburgh, just three goals scored — except one of the Oilers’ goals was actually scored by the Blues (see here).
Carolina: Nobody expected the ‘Canes to be very good, so not a huge surprise. Still, this is a team that went winless in October last season and could be in danger of doing so again; Carolina has a big seven-game road trip coming up, with some very difficult stops.
New Jersey: Like Carolina, nobody expected the Devils to be very good. They’ve also been without No. 1 netminder Cory Schneider for the last two games, so there’s a built-in excuse at the ready. Still, the club can’t be pleased with scoring just two goals in its first two home games.