Game Preview #47 - Time To Capitalize

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets go for their fifth consecutive win as the Capitals make their first visit to Nationwide this season.

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 17, 2014 - 7:00 pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Japers' Rink
SBN's Capitals vs Blue Jackets Coverage

Since last we saw these Caps, it's been roughly two months. And now, we play them twice in two weeks, and then we're done. Crazy, right? In that time, including their last meeting, the Jackets are 16-10-4, good for 36 points in 30 games. The Caps are 13-9-7, good for 33 points in 29 games. In other words, in many ways, these teams are pretty similar. Just four points separate the two teams, and the Jackets have that ever-wonderful game-in-hand.

So, this one's moderately important, ya know?

Here's the difference, though: the Jackets have won five of their last six, and eight of 11; the Caps have won just three times in their last 12 (3-4-5), and are fighting with a three-headed goalie monster that isn't really successful while also dealing with trade requests from their players.

In other words, the time is now for the Jackets to capitalize.

Yep, I made that pun.

In all seriousness, the last three games have felt like the Jackets of last spring, most especially the third period heroics--on the Power Play no less--of Monday night and the Sergei Bobrovsky heroics last Friday night. It will be a bit tougher tonight, as it looks like Fedor Tyutin won't play due to illness.

For Columbus, they've been scoring much better of late, and the Caps just haven't been able to keep people off the scoresheet. The biggest difference between these two clubs is on the Power Play. As we remember from games-past, the Caps' PP is deadly lethal and can completely change a game. The Jackets? Not so much. It is imperative that the Jackets stay out of the box tonight if they want to continue their winning ways.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(22-20-4, 48 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)

Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner Artem Anisimov Nathan Horton
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Corey Tropp
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals
(22-17-8, 52 Points; 4th Division, 8th Conference)

Brooks Laich Mikhail Grabovski Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr Niklas Backstrom Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera Marcus Johansson Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti Jay Beagle Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov Mike Green
John Erskine Connor Carrick
Philipp Grubauer
Braden Holtby

Season Series

10/19/13 - Columbus 1 at Washington 4
11/12/13 - Columbus 3 at Washington 4 (OT)
01/17/14 - Washington at Columbus
01/30/14 - Washington at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Washington Columbus
2.81 (10) GPG 2.74 (13)
2.87 (20) GAPG 2.83 (19)
24.7% (1) PP% 17.8% (19)
80.8% (17) PK% 79.5% (23)
Alex Ovechkin, 34 G leader Ryan Johansen, 17
Niklas Backstrom, 37 A leader James Wisniewski, 23
Alex Ovechkin / Niklas Backstrom, 48 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 34
Tom Wilson, 92 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 78
8-9-4 Road/Home 11-9-2
1/15 @ Pittsburgh, L 4-3 Last Game 1/13 vs. Tampa Bay, W 3-2
3-3-4 Last 10 7-3-0
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