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Game Preview: Meet the Metro

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A game within the division? What a Capital idea!

NHL: Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season started a month ago. Columbus has played 13 games in that time, and yet not a single one has been within the division. That feels weird, right? Yeah, that’s weird.

I look at this much like college athletics. You know how OSU will play out of conference opponents to start the season, before getting into Big Ten play? After getting warmed up against the Western Conference (6-2-2 record against that group), now it’s time to start facing our most common opponents.

More good news? The Jackets are in 5th place in the Metro, with games in hand on every other team. They just have to take care of business to keep moving up the standings.

The Capitals are not yet playing at the President’s Cup level they had last year. What jumps out at me is only 5 power play goals (Columbus has 12). Considering Columbus gave up 4 PP goals on Saturday, I’m worried about Washington regressing to their mean against us.

On the plus side, maybe Brandon Dubinsky is due for a flood of points after netting his first goal of the season on Saturday. If that line can finally produce consistently, we should be in good shape, even if the other lines regress.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Jack Johnson Ryan Murray
Zach Werenski David Savard
Markus Nutivaara Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals

TJ Oshie Nicklas Backstrom Alex Ovechkin
Marcus Johansson Evgeny Kuznetsov Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky Lars Eller Justin Williams
Zachary Sanford Jay Beagle Brett Connolly
Dmitry Orlov John Carlson
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik Nate Schmidt
Braden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer