To say that Saturday night's win was a nice reprieve would be an understatement. Thankfully, Todd Richards has elected to keep those forward lines together tonight, and is putting David Savard back in to replace Dalton Prout. This makes me happy. I want to see more of Ryan Johansen with scorers in the top-line capacity. Both he and Brandon Dubinsky are coming off three-point nights against the Isles on Saturday.
However, we must point out that, the last time these two teams met in DC, it was grisly. The Jackets let the Caps' league-leading Power Play abuse them repeatedly. The Jackets showed no fight, and they barely staved off getting shutout. That was one of the low points of the season.
My assumption is that the Jackets have not forgotten that night.
Here's the flip-side, however. The Capitals have been playing much, much better, a loss on Sunday in Colorado notwithstanding. The last time these two teams played kicked off a stretch in which the Caps won seven of nine which catapulted them back into the spot I thought they'd occupy in terms of the division standings. That said, they're winless in their last two (0-1-1) on a mini-Western swing.
The key to this one may very well be special teams. The Caps are best in the league on the PP and second best on the PK. Thus, the Jackets can ill afford to spend a lot of time a man down, and they're going to have to try to make the best of their PP chances. Only 33 of the Caps' 53 goals scored this year have come at even strength (62.3%), so it is imperative to make them beat you at even strength.
Honestly, though, just about anything would be better than the last time.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(6-10-0, 12 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)
|Brandon Dubinsky||Ryan Johansen||Cam Atkinson|
|R.J. Umberger||Artem Anisimov||Marian Gaborik|
|Derek MacKenzie||Mark Letestu||Blake Comeau|
|Sean Collins||Michael Chaput||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Jack Johnson|
|Ryan Murray||James Wisniewski|
|Nikita Nikitin||David Savard|
(9-8-1, 19 Points; 2nd Division, 7th Conference)
|Martin Erat||Niklas Backstrom||Alex Ovechkin|
|Brooks Laich||Marcus Johansson||Troy Brouwer|
|Jason Chimera||Mikhail Grabovski||Joel Ward|
|Aaron Volpatti||Michael Latta||Tom Wilson|
|Nate Schmidt||Mike Green|
|John Carlson||Karl Alzner|
|Alexander Urbom||Steve Oleksy|
10/19/13 - Columbus 1 at Washington 4
11/12/13 - Columbus at Washington
01/17/14 - Washington at Columbus
01/30/14 - Washington at Columbus
Head to Head Stats
Washington Columbus 2.94 (9) GPG 2.50 (21) 2.83 (20) GAPG 2.88 (22) 26.7% (1) PP% 19.6% (14) 88.7% (2) PK% 78.8% (23) Alex Ovechkin, 13 G leader Marian Gaborik / Ryan Johansen, 5 Niklas Backstrom, 15 A leader James Wisniewski, 11 Alex Ovechkin / Niklas Backstrom, 20 Pts leader Brandon Dubinsky / James Wisniewski, 13 Tom Wilson, 42 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 34 6-3-0 Home/Road 2-4-0 11/10 @ Colorado, L 4-1 Last Game 11/9 vs. NY Islanders, W 5-2 6-3-1 Last 10 4-6-0