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Game #59 Preview: Blue Jackets Look to Keep Afloat in East; Take on Canadiens

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A battle of Eastern Conference contenders, Columbus is in Montreal tonight to take on the Canadiens. Here is what you need to know.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, February 19 - 7:30 EST
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Eyes On The Prize

Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-3, 69 points, t-3rd Metro, t-6th East)

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Montreal Canadiens (31-21-7, 69 points, 4th Atlantic, t-6th East)

The Columbus Blue Jackets travel for their one and only trip to Montreal to face the Canadiens for Tuesday’s game at the Bell Centre. The Jackets come off Monday’s game at home against the Lightning, where they fell 5-1, while the Habs come in off their loss to the Panthers, 6-3 on Sunday. Montreal has hit the skids of late, dropping their last four.

Columbus fell at home to the Canadiens 4-1 in January.

Player to Watch

Josh Anderson is undergoing a career-year for Columbus in 2018-19. On Saturday, he scored his career-best 20th goal, and tied his single-season point total (30). The Blue Jackets’ penalty minutes leader with 48 in the box, Anderson has been the driving force of physicality and power, improving every season since his breakout campaign in 2016-17. He’ll enter play tonight with goals in five of his last nine games, and eight points since Jan. 29.

Jackets Notes

Columbus is 5-5-2 when playing back-to-back this season. ... Anthony Duclair was a healthy scratch Monday against the Lightning, with coach John Tortorella not elaborating, but referencing “bad listening skills.” ... Duclair, when asked for a comment said, “I made a mistake in the neutral zone (on Saturday in Chicago) and I paid for it.” ... Eric Robinson and Kole Sherwood both played their second-consecutive games Monday. ... Sherwood is the first Columbus native to play a home game in Columbus. ... Boone Jenner returned to the lineup and Joonas Korpisalo started in goal, so expect a return to Sergei Bobrovsky tonight. ... Markus Hannikainen missed a second-straight game Monday due to illness. ... Ryan Murray left Monday’s game with an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. ... John Tortorella immediately said postgame that Murray would not travel with the team for their two-game road trip. ... Pierre-Luc Dubois is one point away from 100 in his career. ... After starting 2019 killing off 39-of-40 penalties, the Blue Jackets have surrendered three goals on the penalty kill in their last two games falling to fifth in the league (82.9%). ... Tonight is a matchup of one of the best road teams (Columbus, 18-9-1) against one of the better home records in the league (Montreal, 17-10-4).

The Other Bench

Montreal looks poised to return to the playoffs this year after last season's disappointment saw the club miss out on postseason action for the second time in three seasons. Currently second in the wild card in the East, some of this past off-season’s action for the Canadiens might be among the chief reasons why they are back to contending status.

Big names including captain Max Pacioretty was traded to the Golden Knights for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 second round draft pick, while Alex Galchenyuk was dealt to the Coyotes for Max Domi.

Domi has seen his career hit a resurgence after switching the desert for among NHL-franchise royalty, leading his new club in points (51), assists (32), and is third among goals (19). After scoring 18 goals his rookie season in Arizona in 2015-16, while also recording a career-high 34 assists and 52 points, he is set to blow right past those totals this year after only recording nine goals each of the prior two seasons, with 38 and 45 points respectively.

When I was looking up numbers on the Canadiens and saw Domi leading his club with 71 penalty minutes, I said “woah.” And then a split-second later thought, “well, Domi” — referencing his father, Tie Domi, who is third all-time with 3,515 penalty minutes.

You used to think of Carey Price when you thought of Montreal, and though he’s not the Price of old, he’s showing more of the old Price.

Last season’s totals:

48 GP, 16 W, 26 L, 7 OTL, 3.11 GAA, .900 SV%, 1 SO

This season:

45 GP, 23 W, 16 L, 5 OTL, 2.58 GAA, .916 SV%, 3 SO

Hindered by injuries the last few seasons, a healthy contributor in net is worth is share of wins for a team he’s carried on his back for years. But their special teams can use work (PP: 12.9%, 30th, PK: 79.4%, 20th).

Forward Paul Byron has been out with a left forearm injury.

Season Series

1/18/19 MTL 4 @ CBJ 1
2/19/19 CBJ @ MTL
3/28/19 MTL @ CBJ

Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.95 (t-16) GPG 3.21 (9)
2.95 (t-13) GAPG 3.03 (15)
12.9% (30) PP% 15.7% (27)
79.4% (20) PK% 82.9% (5)
53.87% (4) EV Corsi % 50.16% (13)
100.3 (t-10) EV PDO 100.1 (13)
Brendan Gallagher, 23 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 32
Max Domi, 32 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 43
Max Domi, 51 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 67
Max Domi, 71 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 52
17-10-4 Home / Road 18-9-1
4-4-2 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Anthony Duclair Alexander Wennberg Oliver Bjorkstrand
Lukas Sedlak Riley Nash Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Scott Harrington Dean Kukan
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Montreal Canadiens
Jonathan Drouin Phillip Danult Brendan Gallagher
Tomas Tatar Max Domi Andrew Shaw
Artturi Lehkonen Jesperi Kotkaniemi Joel Armia
Charles Hudon Nate Thompson Dale Weise
Victor Mete Shea Weber
Mike Reilly Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak Jordie Benn
Carey Price
Antti Niemi