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Preview: Bring a Snow Shovel This Time

Columbus looks to avenge last week’s loss to Colorado.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Colorado Avalanche
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 9:00 EST
Pepsi Center, Denver Colorado
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Game Faceoff

When these two teams last me, Columbus was playing its third game in four nights. Though they managed to force overtime thanks to Cam Atkinson (who scored both goals that night), the team fell to the Avalanche.

Now, just over a week later, Columbus enters with a little more rest, and fresh off of an absolute demolition of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tuesday night may have been Columbus’ most complete effort of the season as they completely controlled each and every single facet of the game from the opening faceoff.

Columbus has looked like a team that knows who they are for the first time in years. They have an identity as a fast team that is not afraid to punch you in the mouth. It has been a total team effort to this point this season, as they are not relying on one single guy to carry the offense, nor have they relied on Sergei Bobrovsky to steal game after game. It has been a total team effort to this point, and here is hoping that it can continue going forward.

Cam Atkinson continues to be a revelation under Torts. He is tied for the team lead in goals and points this year, and has played well in all facets of the game. I’m of the opinion he needs to be protected this summer.

Columbus officially posted the best November record ever (9-2-3). As Aaron Portzline notes also, the Jackets won their 12th game of the year against Tampa, a feat that they did not accomplish last season until December 17. Quite the turnaround.

One last note. That EV CF% 49.6% (good for 17th in the league) note from the Game Faceoff this morning? That’s skyrocketing right now. 7 games ago, before the Rangers came to town, that number was 46.5% (good for 29th). The fancy stats back up the eye test: Columbus is starting to control play more and push the envelope in the offensive zone. That, friends, is what we call “taking the next step.”

Go Jackets.

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

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

Colorado Avalanche

Rene Bourque Nathan Mackinnon Mikko Rantanen
Mikhail Grigorenko Carl Soderberg Matt Duchene
Blake Comeau John Mitchell Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod Joe Colborne Andreas Martinsen
Fedor Tyutin Erik Johnson
Patrick Wiercioch Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov Francois Beauchemin
Semyon Varlamov
Calvin Pickard