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2019 Playoff Game 3 Preview: Blue Jackets return to Columbus with the upper hand

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Will the Jackets expand their lead, or will Tampa get back in the series?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: NBCSN, Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (47-31-4, 98 points, 5th Metro, 8th East)

vs.

Tampa Bay Lightning (62-16-4, 128 points, 1st Atlantic, 1st East)

Columbus leads series 2-0

The Blue Jackets have shocked the league in winning the first two games of the series in Tampa. Nationwide Arena will be rocking from the opening face-off; will they be able to feed off that energy and take a commanding lead in the series?

Which team has more pressure to win this game? Is it Tampa, who was the heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup and is at risk of a first round exit? Or is it Columbus, who came home with a 2-0 lead last season against the Capitals and lost four straight? Whoever loses tonight will see their respective narrative talked about ad nauseam leading up to Game 4.

We will have a bunch of Cannonites in the house tonight. I’ll be there, as will Ryan and MrSwift. We’ll be at our usual spot by the escalators on the south side of the concourse during the second intermission. See you there!

Player to Watch

David Savard

Savy has been one of the most impactful players of the series. He’s shut down Tampa’s best scorers on the defensive end, and has been involved in scoring plays on the offensive side. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski lead the defense, but getting this level of play from the second pair is huge.

Jackets Notes

The team flew home yesterday, which is a change from last season when they flew immediately after an overtime win in Game 2 ... The team announced the signing of defenseman prospect Vladislav Gavrikov. There is immigration red tape to work through, but the plan is for him to join the team yet this spring. If so, there’s a chance he could play if this playoff run continues. Is he ready for that kind of NHL action? He’s battle-tested in the KHL and in international play with the Russian national team. At the very least he adds blue line depth with Ryan Murry and Adam McQuaid still out ... The Cleveland Monsters play their final regular season game today in Toronto, but they will need some help to get into the playoffs.

The Other Bench

Star forward Nikita Kucherov is suspended for tonight’s game after his unnecessary hit on Markus Nutivaara late in Game 2. On one hand, this takes away one of the Lightning’s best scoring threats. On the other hand, the Jackets were doing just fine keeping him off the scoreboard, and perhaps this gives Tampa something to rally behind ... Defenseman Victor Hedman missed practice and is said by Jon Cooper to be “banged up.” He is expected to play tonight, though.

Season Series

10/13/2018 CBJ 2 @ TBL 8
01/08/2019 CBJ 0 @ TBL 4
02/18/2019 TBL 5 @ CBJ 1

04/10/2019 CBJ 4 @ TBL 3
04/12/2019 CBJ 5 @ TBL 1
04/14/2019 TBL @ CBJ
04/16/2019 TBL @ CBJ
04/19/2019 CBJ @ TBL (if necessary)
04/21/2019 TBL @ CBJ (if necessary)
04/23/2019 CBJ @ TBL (if necessary)

Playoff Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
2.00 (10) GPG 4.50 (1)
4.50 (16) GAPG 2.00 (2)
0% (12) PP% 50.0% (1)
50.0% (14) PK% 100.0% (1)
52.23% (6) EV Corsi % 47.77% (11)
95.0 (12) EV PDO 105.1 (5)
Four tied at 1, not including Stamkos, Kucherov, or Point G Leader 9 tied at 1
Erik Cernak and J.T. Milller, 2 A Leader Matt Duchene, 3
Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev, and J.T. Miller, 2 P Leader Matt Duchene, 4
Nikita "What is Russian for 'dirty?'" Kucherov, 17 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 12

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Ryan Dzingel Matt Duchene Cam Atkinson
Alexandre Texier Nick Foligno Josh Anderson
Brandon Dubinsky Boone Jenner Riley Nash
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Dean Kukan Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Tampa Bay Lightning
Mathieu Joseph Steven Stamkos Yanni Gourde
Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli J.T. Miller
Adam Erne Cedric Paquette Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev Jan Rutta
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Louis Domingue