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Game Preview #41 - Avert Your Eyes...

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The Jackets are losers of two in a row, and have looked pretty awful along the way. It doesn't get any easier as the Habs come to town for the first of three games in four nights... again.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 14, 2015 - 7:00 pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Eyes On The Prize

Which was worse: announcing the Bobrovsky extension right before getting creamed 5-2, or announcing that we have three All Stars right before getting creamed 5-2? I haven't made up my mind.

Being born and raised a Cleveland sports fan, you won't meet too many people that would accuse me of being an optimist. I've been wondering for the last few days if the Jackets' clock has struck midnight for this season. After clawing their way back to one game above .500, they've simply disappeared the past two games, getting crushed under the non-stop possession and speed of the Leafs and Isles.

When Columbus was winning, they were doing it just barely; how many OT/SO games in December? When they've lost during this 12-4-1 stretch, they. Have. LOST. Their four regulation losses in that span combine for a total of 21-8. And all four have come in the last eight games (4-4-0). During the entirety of the 12-4-1 run, their combined EV Corsi For percentage is 44.0%, which is good for fourth-worst over that span. Fourth worst in the entire league. Ironically, during the current 4-4-0 stretch, it's up to 46.7%. This confounds me.

In short, I have no idea about this team anymore. It's almost impossible to predict which team will show up, and that's maddening.

Interestingly enough, over the same time-frame of the Jackets' 12-4-1 run, Montreal at EV has a Corsi For % of just 45.5% in one fewer game, which puts them literally just one spot in front of Columbus in the rankings during that span. Columbus holds one edge: their Power Play (which has kept them afloat in many ways all season). However, the Habs counter with a top-10 PK unit, and of course an all-world goaltender of their own.

Apparently, after back-to-back spankings, no lineup changes needed. OK then.

Again, tonight's game? I'm done prognosticating. Just don't get blown out, please.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(18-19-3, 39 Points; 6th division, 13th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Sean Collins Alexander Wennberg Jeremy Morin
Corey Tropp Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Cody Goloubef
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Montreal Canadiens
(26-12-3, 55 Points; 2nd Division, 4th Conference)

Max Pacioretty Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Brandon Prust Alex Galchenyuk P.A. Parenteau
David Desharnais Lars Eller Dale Weise
Jiri Sekac Manny Malhotra Michael Bournival
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert
Carey Price
Dustin Tokarski

Season Series

01/14/15 - Montreal at Columbus
02/21/15 - Columbus at Montreal
02/26/15 - Montreal at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.58 (22) GPG 2.50 (24)
2.29 (3) GAPG 3.25 (26)
13.7% (28) PP% 24.5% (2)
85.3% (6) PK% 79.9% (20)
Max Pacioretty, 18 G leader Nick Foligno, 18
P.K. Subban, 19 A leader Ryan Johansen, 24
Max Pacioretty, 33 Pts leader Nick Foligno, 40
Brandon Prust, 78 PIM leader Scott Hartnell, 57
13-7-1 Road/Home 9-10-2
7-2-1 Last 10 5-4-1
1/10 vs. Pittsburgh, L 2-1 (OT) Last Game 1/10 vs. NY IslandersL 5-2