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Game #48 Preview: Blue Jackets Head to The State of Hockey

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Blue Jackets look to head into bye with fifth win in their last six games.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 9:00 EST
Xcel Energy Center, Saint. Paul, MN
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Columbus Blue Jackets (28-16-3, 59 points, t-2nd Metro, t-4th East)

vs.

Minnesota Wild (23-21-3, 49 points, 5th Central, t-9th West)

After seeing their four-game winning streak come to an end Friday night against the Canadiens, the Columbus Blue Jackets roll into Saint Paul to battle the Minnesota Wild, who are looking to find winning consistency themselves. As Columbus fell 4-1 to Montreal last night, Minnesota comes off a 3-0 defeat to the Ducks Thursday night. Back in November, Columbus took the first meeting against the Wild, a 4-2 affair, in which the Jackets got goals from Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin, and Riley Nash, scoring his one and only goal this season.

Player to Watch

Mikael Granlund (12 goals, 27 assists) leads the Wild in assists and is second in points (39) behind Zach Parise. Last season, Granlund finished with 21 career goals and a career — and team — high 46 assists. His 67 points last season finished just two under his career-high 69 in 2016-17. In 10 career games against Columbus, Granlund has eight points (three goals, five assists). He scored in the teams’ first meeting in November.

Jackets Notes

After missing the previous four games due to a hamstring injury, Brandon Dubinsky returned to the lineup for Friday’s game against the Canadiens, taking the place of Anthony Duclair. ... With Joonas Korpisalo starting for the fourth game in five last night, it’s expected Sergei Bobrovsky gets the nod tonight. ... Bobrovsky’s last start came on Sunday against the Rangers, a game in which he allowed five goals on 27 shots in the 7-5 win. ... Since scoring a season-high two points (one goal, one assists) Nov. 29 at home against Minnesota, Riley Nash has two assists in two of the last three games, breaking a 19-game streak without a point in that span. ... Nash has six points (one goal, five assists) this season. ... In eight games this month, the Blue Jackets penalty kill unit is perfect (16-for-16), the only team so far in 2019 not to allow a power play goal. ... Since Dec. 1, the penalty kill unit is the best in the league (50-for-56, 88%). ... The last power play goal allowed came against John Tavares and the Maple Leafs Dec. 28. ... Following tonight’s game against the Wild, the Blue Jackets will begin their bye week, and return to action after next weekend’s All-Star Game (Jan. 26 at San Jose) with a home game Jan. 29 against the Sabres.

The Other Bench

Just one point out of the second wild card in the Western Conference, and fighting to stay in the Central Division race, the Wild, looking for a spark, traded Nino Niederreiter (nine goals, 14 assists) to the Hurricanes on Thursday for Victor Rask (one goal, five assists). Rask’s first game with the Wild is expected to come tonight. It wasn’t the only trade the team made this week, as just a day earlier on Wednesday, they swapped Justin Kloos for Anaheim’s Pontus Aberg.

In their most recent game Thursday night, Minnesota was victimized for three goals in their shutout loss to the Ducks, which snapped a 12-game winless streak for Anaheim. The Wild are 1-3-0 in their last four, and getting along without defenseman Matt Dumba, potentially for the rest of the season after a ruptured pectoralis muscle suffered last month in a fight. Eric Fehr is also missing time with an upper-body injury.

Zach Parise leads the tam with 19 goals and 41 points. Devan Dubnyk, who took the loss against Columbus in November, is 17-16-3 the season (2.64 GAA, .912 SV%) and Alex Stalock is 6-5-0 (2.91, .894).

It’s Hockey Day in Minnesota, which features some of the best high school and college hockey across the state. In the 13-year history of the event, the Wild are 9-2-1 on this day, and it’s the second time Columbus faces the Wild on HDM, falling to the Wild 4-2 Jan. 23, 2010.

Stats

Minnesota Columbus
2.77 (26) GPG 3.26 (9)
2.89 (11) GAPG 3.04 (20)
21.3% (t-11) PP% 14.3% (27)
85.1% (2) PK% 82.4% (t-8)
50.66% (t-10) EV Corsi % 49.80% (17)
98.2 (28) EV PDO 100.7 (t-8)
Zach Parise, 19 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 27
Mikael Granlund, 27 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 34
Zach Parise, 41 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 52
Nick Seeler, 41 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 44
12-9-3 Home / Road 14-7-1
5-5-0 Last 10 6-4-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Anthony Duclair Alexander Wennberg Kevin Stenlund
Oliver Bjorkstrand Lukas Sedlak Riley Nash
Seth Jones Markus Nutivaara
Zach Werenski David Savard
Scott Harrington Dean Kukan
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Minnesota Wild

Jason Zucker Mikko Koivu Mikael Granlund
Jordan Greenway Eric Staal Luke Kunin
Zach Parise Charlie Coyle Pontus Aberg
Marcus Foligno Joel Eriksson Ek J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler Nate Prosser
Devan Dubnyk
Alex Stalock