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Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals, Game 2

The Jackets look to turn the series on its head with another win in DC

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals - Game One Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals
Sunday, April 15, 2018; 7:30 p.m. EST
Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NBC Sports Network
Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Japers’ Rink

Columbus Blue Jackets: 1-0

vs

Washington Capitals: 0-1

Playoff Series

4/12/2018 - CBJ (4) @ WSH (3) (OT) Recap

Season Series

12/2/2017 - CBJ (3) @ WSH (4) Recap
02/06/2018 - WSH (3) @ CBJ (2) Recap
02/09/2018 - CBJ (2) @ WSH (4) Recap
02/26/2018 - WSH (1) @ CBJ (5) Recap

Blue Jackets-Capitals Round 1 Schedule

Game Day Date Time
Game Day Date Time
1 Thursday April 12 7:30 p.m.
2 Sunday April 15 7:30 p.m.
3 Tuesday April 17 7:30 p.m.
4 Thursday April 19 7:30 p.m.
5* Saturday April 21 TBD
6* Monday April 23 TBD
7* Wednesday April 25 TBD
*if necessary

Thursday night was fun, huh? In Game 1 of their first round series, the Blue Jackets dug themselves out of 2-0 hole and 3-2 holes to win in overtime on an Artemi Panarin snap shot to take a 1-0 series lead. They’ll look to keep up their strong play in Game 2 and head back to Columbus with a commanding 2-0 edge.

Stats

Washington Columbus
3.00 GPG 4.00
4.00 GAPG 3.00
33.3% PP% 50.0%
50.0% PK% 66.7%%
47.4% EV Corsi % 52.6%
96.1 EV PDO 104.0
Evgeny Kuznetsov, 2 G Leader Four tied, 1
John Carlson, 3 A Leader Dubois/Panarin, 2
John Carlson, 3 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 3
Three tied, 2 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 15
0-1 Home / Road 1-0

The Blue Jackets own a series lead for the first time in franchise history, and, in true CBJ fashion, they achieved the feat with a game in which they never led until they won.

The biggest news for Columbus over the two days of non-game action: Alexander Wennberg was labeled “doubtful” and did not practice after a nasty hit from Tom Wilson in Game One. That has shifted the lineups a bit, with Sonny Milano expected to draw in on the wing. That’ll move Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky on the second and third lines with Mark Letestu on the fourth line pivot (with Oliver Bjorkstrand on the fourth line wing...we’ll see how that goes). Wennberg scored a key goal and has driven a rejuvenated Boone Jenner-Wennberg-Thomas Vanek line, so his absence will be noticeable. That said, Sonny Milano now has his chance to make a splash in the playoffs and provide some offensive skill.

For the Caps, Jay Beagle will return as the fourth-line center. Beagle finished the season as the NHL’s fourth-best center at faceoff percentage at 58.5 percent. Michael Kempny will also back in the lineup following Josh Anderson’s hit in the first period. Jakub Vrana will sit on Sunday.

Coming into the series, the consensus key to a Columbus win seemed to be: stay out of the penalty box. Don’t put the dangerous Capitals power play on the ice. Well, six Washington power plays later, the Blue Jackets survived to win. Columbus controlled the play at even strength (52.6 to 47.4 CF%) and its big players made big plays when it mattered (Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones, please take a bow).

It’s a playoff game, so it seems stupid to say, “Washington will be hungry for a win in this one.” But they’ve had to read the headlines and deal with the nagging “Are we blowing it again?” feeling for the last two days. The fans are sour. If the CBJ can strike first and put some early doubt in Capital One Arena, it could be the start of a long night for the home team. And if not? These Blue Jackets sure do love to play from behind. We know that.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg Thomas Vanek
Oliver Bjorkstrand Nick Foligno Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Brandon Dubinsky
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Ian Cole David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Washington Capitals
Alexander Ovechkin Evgeny Kuznetsov Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky Nicklas Backstrom T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana Lars Eller Devante Smith-Pelly
Brett Connolly Chandler Stephenson Alex Chiasson
Michael Kempny John Carlson
Dimitri Orlov Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik Jakub Jerabek
Philipp Grubauer
Braden Holtby