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Game #39 Preview: Looking to rebound against Chicago

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Ferris doesn’t have to skip school to see this one

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Sunday, December 29, 2019 - 5:00 EST

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH

TV: FSOH; Radio: 97.1 FM

Opponent’s Blog: Second City Hockey

Chicago Blackhawks (16-17-6, 38 pts, 7th Central, 12th West)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (17-14-7, 41 pts, 6th Metro, 10th East)

Lately, it seems like the Chicago Blackhawks are either really ‘on’ or really ‘off’. Their last four wins have all come by 2+ goals including a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday. Four of their last five losses have come by 3+ goals, including a 7-1 shellacking by the powerhouse New Jersey Devils last Monday. This likely doesn’t mean anything, but I’d feel better if the CBJ jumped out to a 2 goal lead early. Generally, Chicago isn’t very good with a poor offense and a poor defense. Their power play is bad though the PK does good work and is T-15 in the league. Patrick Kane has a lot of points this year (20-27-47), but he’s outpacing the next best Hawk by 19 points (Jonathan Toews). It’s fair to say that the team goes as Kane goes.

This is a good thing for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite all of the injuries, the team is still maintaining their very strong defensive play with strong shot suppression in 5 on 5 and on the penalty kill. Behind them, Joonas Korpisalo continues his strong play. Sure, he’s not facing difficult shots – a credit to the defense, not a negative mark against Korpi – but he’s stopping most of what he’s facing. That’s all any goalie can do and #70 is doing that in spades. The unit to keep an eye on will continue to be the offense. The interesting thing is that though the offense is terrible, it’s also worth watching more now. Before, we’d focus on how terrible the veterans were doing. All of those guys are out injured! So now it’s about looking to see which Columbus Monster steps up to put the lotion in the basket.

Player to Watch

Seth Jones

It’s time to get off the offense and focus on a guy doing elite defensive work on the regular. Jones, and his partner Zach Werenski, are going to have to be the ones to keep Patrick Kane untracked. If the Chicago offense goes through him, it’s up to Jones to be the primary roadblock. Frankly, I like his odds.

Jackets Notes

I’m tired of writing about Markus Nutivaara skating – it’s clear he isn’t coming back any time soon... Sonny Milano has been skating and seems closest to returning, but concussions are tricky… The Jackets are on a multi-game point streak. I can’t take those seriously. Win streaks or bust… The power play is sinking again - can we blame injuries? Bottom third of league again

The Other Bench

Brandon Saad is sitting on 11-8-19 right now… Robin Lehner is the starter for Chicago, this somehow surprises me… Lehner has a 2.82 GAA and .925 SV%... Would much rather see Corey Crawford… Though not the bullies that Detroit used to be, a win over Chicago is always smile-inducing… Alison Lukan joined the Second City podcast to preview this game and the Jackets generally… I might feel slightly betrayed! (not really, so go listen!)…

Season Series

10/18/19 – CBJ @ CHI – 2-3 Loss

12/29/19 – CHI @ CBJ

Stats

Chicago Columbus
2.79 (21) GPG 2.60 (26)
3.15 (21) GAPG 2.81 (9)
14.8% (27) PP% 17.3% (21)
81.6% (12) PK% 80.9% (15)
47.5% (26) 5v5 Corsi % 50.8% (11)
47.0% (28) 5v5 Fenwick % 52.8% (6)
7.9 % (18) 5v5 Shot % 6.6% (30)
.925 (8) 5v5 Save % .923 (10)
Patrick Kane, 20 G Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre-Luc Dubois, 12
Patrick Kane, 27 A Leader Seth Jones, 18
Patrick Kane, 47 P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois and Gustav Nyquist, 26
Dennis Gilbert, 38 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, 39
7-8-3 Home / Road 11-8-1
4-5-1 Last 10 6-1-3

Possible Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gustav Nyquist Boone Jenner Kevin Stenlund
Eric Robinson Pierre-Luc Dubois Alexandre Texier
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Nathan Gerbe
Jakob Lilja Riley Nash Ryan MacInnis
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Gabriel Carlsson Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Chicago Blackhawks
Dominik Kubalik Jonathan Toews John Quenneville
Alex Nylander Dylan Strome Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat Kirby Dach Ryan Carpenter
Zack Smith David Kampf Matthew Highmore
Duncan Keith Erik Gustaffson
Slater Koekkoek Connor Murphy
Olli Maatta Dennis Gilbert
Corey Crawford
Robin Lehner