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Game Preview: Wake Up in Washington

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We’ve got a matinee today in the nation’s capital

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

This is a weird one, with Columbus playing a rare afternoon game. I kind of like it, though. Gives me an excuse to avoid watching the Browns.

Keys to the Game

  • Wakey wakey: How will the players on both sides handle the unusual start time? Will they prepare for it like they would for a morning skate? I’d expect slow play in the early minutes as the players’ body clocks adjust.
  • Get hit in the face: On Tuesday, Brandon Dubinsky took a puck off the beak, then won the faceoff that led directly to Cam Atkinson’s game-winner. On Friday, Matt Calvert took one off the dome then came back 36 stitches later and scored a shorty that became the deciding goal. I don’t want to risk injury to any of our players, but I’m just saying it may be worth it for someone else to take one for the team if it results in a big goal.
  • Let the good times roll: Columbus is playing their third divisional game in a row. They’re 2-0-0 so far. They’ve won 7 straight game home games, but their road record is not as strong (2-2-2). Still, they have to feel good about the results so far this year:

What You Need To Know

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Washington Capitals
Saturday, November 20, 2016 - 12:30 EST
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: Fox Sports Ohio –Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Japers’ Rink

Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-4-2, 20 points, 5th Metro, 9th East

vs.

Washington Capitals, 11-4-2, 24 points, 3rd Metro, 5th East

Season Series

Columbus 1-0-0
Washington 0-0-1

11/15/16 WAS 1-2 (OT) CBJ
11/20/16 CBJ @ WAS
01/05/17 CBJ @ WAS
03/23/17 CBJ @ WAS
04/02/17 WAS @ CBJ

Stats

Washington Columbus
2.71 (13) GPG 3.40 (2)
2.12 (2) GAPG 2.33 (7)
13.7% (23) PP% 29.3% (1)
84.6% (12) PK% 84.8% (11)
52.26% (5) EV CF% 46.89% (27)
102.8 (6) EV PDO 103.6 (3)
T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin, 8 G Leader Sam Gagner, 7
Nicklas Backstrom, 11 A Leader Alexander Wennberg, 13
Nicklas Backstrom, 15 P Leader Nick Foligno, 16
Lars Eller and Tom Wilson, 16 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 17
6-2-0 Home / Road 2-2-2
7-2-1 Last 10 7-2-1

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 Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Roster News: LW Markus Hannikainen was recalled from Cleveland for this game, as the “just in case” spare forward for the trip. He likely won’t play....Seth Jones also won’t play, but Tom Reed of the Dispatch is reporting that he is practicing without limitation and is very close to returning. Not a moment too soon, I say.

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

We saw Grubauer on Tuesday. Will we get Holtby today?