Game #16 Preview: Blue Jackets seek revenge in Washington

Friday, November 9, 2018 – 7:00 EST
Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NHL Network; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Japers’ Rink

Columbus Blue Jackets (8-6-1, 17 points, 3rd Metro, 8th East)

vs.

Washington Capitals (7-4-3, 17 points, 2nd Metro, 7th East)

Trigger Warning: If you’re still sore over how the playoffs ended for the Columbus Blue Jackets last spring, then beware. Any broadcast of this game will certainly bring up how these teams faced off last season in the first round. Our boys in blue shocked the hockey world by winning the first two games in Washington in overtime, then proceeded to lose the next four as the Capitals advanced all the way to their first Stanley Cup. They seek revenge tonight, as well as a chance to jump Washington and the Islanders for possession of first place in the Metro.

Player to Watch

Ryan Murray

In case you missed it, yesterday the wonderful Alison Lukan over at The Athletic profiled Murray’s resurgence. After a couple of years buried on the third pair or the injured reserve, Murrs has been a steady presence on the blue line this season, earning more minutes and being more active in the offensive game than I ever expected. In Tuesday’s win over Dallas, Torts shuffled his defensive pairs, and it appears based on yesterday’s practice lines that the new pairs will hold. This puts Murray back on the top pairing with Seth Jones. This was a pairing we saw after Jones first arrived in Columbus, and was expected to be a longer thing until Zach Werenski seized the top pair spot in his first training camp with the team.

Jackets Notes

The other notable defensive change is that Hott Scarrington may replace Dean Kukan. Kukan had just returned to the lineup on Tuesday. I don’t get it…Oliver Bjorkstrand remains a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game…The Jackets schedule is backloaded with Metro Division games. There were just 2 in October and tonight’s is the first of only 4 in November. There will be 7 in December…Assuming they split goalie duties over the back-to-back, I think it makes the most sense to start Sergei Bobrovsky tonight and Joonas Korpisalo at home tomorrow against the Rangers.

The Other Bench

Big win for the Caps on Wednesday as they topped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on a late T.J. Oshie goal…Like Columbus, the Caps have scored well but have had struggles in net. While Sergei Bobrovsky has just appeared like the Bob of old in the last week, Braden Holtby’s season has been more up and down. He started with a 25 save shutout of Boston, then gave up 7 to Pittsburgh. He saved 41 of 42 shots on Wednesday, but had save percentage below .900 in the previous two starts…Nicklas Backstrom was honored on Wednesday night for 600 career assists. He now stands at 604, just 1359 behind Wayne Gretzky! (My favorite Gretzky stat is that he has more career assists than any other NHL player has career points)…Tom Wilson is still serving his 20 game suspension for being a compulsive dirty hitter. Good riddance.

Season Series

11/09/2018 CBJ @ WSH
12/08/2018 WSH @ CBJ
01/12/2019 CBJ @ WSH
02/12/2019 WSH @ CBJ

Stats

Washington Columbus
3.64 (1) GPG 3.33 (10)
3.50 (26) GAPG 3.47 (25)
34.0% (1) PP% 11.9% (30)
74.5% (25) PK% 75.5% (24)
47.38% (23) EV Corsi % 49.67% (17)
101.4 (7) EV PDO 101.2 (8)
Alex Ovechkin, 12 G Leader Josh Anderson, 7
Nicklas Backstrom 14 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 11
Evgeny Kuznetsov, 19 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 16
Evgeny Kuznetsov, 16 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 24
5-1-2 Home / Road 4-2-1
5-3-2 Last 10 5-4-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Lukas Sedlak Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Markus Hannikainen Brandon Dubinsky Riley Nash
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Zach Werenski Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin Evgeny Kuznetsov Dmitrij Jaskin
Chandler Stephenson Nicklas Backstrom T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky Lars Eller Brett Connolly
Jakub Vrana Travis Boyd Devante Smith-Pelly
Dmitri Orlov Matt Niskanen
Michael Kempny John Carlson
Christian Djoos Madison Bowey
Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley

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