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Game Preview #46 - Back In Action. Sorta.

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The Blue Jackets--minus one big piece--are back after the All Star Break. Something tells me Alex Ovechkin won't be going out of his way to set up Johansen and Foligno tonight.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 27, 2015 - 7:00 PM EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Japers' Rink

Man, what a difference one game can make. If the Jackets had won in Winnipeg going into the break, they're at .500, and still with an outside chance at making the playoffs. Not only did they lose, but they got smoked. AND they lost Sergei Bobrovsky for four to six weeks. Never before has the 45th game of a season felt so much like the death blow to any and all playoff hopes, however outside they may have been.

It just feels like it's all over.

In that respect, the All Star Break came at the best time. Time off to clear that out of their heads. For us fans, a break in the gnashing of teeth to celebrate our city and show it off to the hockey world. For my part, playing hockey on the outdoor rink first thing Saturday morning as the sun slowly came up... couldn't have been any cooler.

But now, we're back. It's tough to get ramped back up, with the feeling of complete dread hanging over the team now that Bob is out for essentially the rest of the (meaningful part of the) season. I know some other guys are nearing a return from injury, but I find myself wondering: what's the point? Shut 'em down, make sure everyone's 100% for next season, and try to explode on everyone like the Isles did this season.

As for this game? I don't know what to expect. I thought the first minute in Winnipeg was dominated by the Jackets... until a completely boneheaded turnover led to a soft goal. Then another easy goal for Winnipeg after another sloppy zone clear. Then Bob gets hurt. Then the sound of many liquor bottles breaking open in Columbus was heard round the world.

I don't know. The Caps were riding a solid stretch into the break, and are looking to make their playoff push. The Jackets? Who knows? Guess we'll find out tonight.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(20-22-3, 43 Points; 6th division, 13th conference)

Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell Brandon Dubinsky Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Alexander Wennberg Jeremy Morin
Corey Tropp Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Curtis McElhinney
Anton Forsberg

Washington Capitals
(24-13-9, 57 Points; 4th Division, 7th Conference)

Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom Andre Burakovsky
Marcus Johansson Evgeny Kuznetsov Troy Brouwer
Brooks Laich Eric Fehr Joel Ward
Jason Chimera Jay Beagle Tom Wilson
Brooks Orpik John Carlson
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Jack Hillen Mike Green
Braden Holtby
Justin Peters

Season Series

WSH - 2-0-1
CBJ - 1-1-1

11/11/14 - Columbus 2 at Washington 4
12/11/14 - Columbus 3 at Washington 2 (OT)
12/18/14 - Washington 5 at Columbus 4 (OT)
01/27/15 - Washington at Columbus
03/03/15 - Washington at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Washington Columbus
2.96 (8) GPG 2.42 (24)
2.52 (12) GAPG 3.13 (26)
24.4% (3) PP% 24.3% (4)
79.5% (21) PK% 79.5% (19)
Alexander Ovechkin, 27 G leader Nick Foligno, 18
Nicklas Backstrom, 32 A leader Ryan Johansen, 26
Nicklas Backstrom, 47 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 43
Tom Wilson, 79 PIM leader Jared Boll / Scott Hartnell, 63
12-8-4 Road/Home 9-12-2
6-2-2 Last 10 4-6-0
1/20 vs. Edmonton, L 5-4 (OT) Last Game 1/21 @ Winnipeg, L 4-0