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Game #52 Preview: Can the Jackets keep the point streak going against Le Canadiens?

This is also the gamethread, so comment away!

Columbus Blue Jackets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images

Sunday, February 2, 2020 - 2:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s blog: Eyes On The Prize

Columbus Blue Jackets, 27-16-9, 63 points, 4th Metro, 7th Eastern


Montreal Canadiens, 24-22-7, 55 points, 5th Atlantic, 11th Eastern

The Jackets dusted off their skates yesterday to face the Sabres in Buffalo, eventually losing 2-1 in OT. However, Torts was pretty positive about the results:

With barely any time for a breather, the Jackets are playing today at 2 p.m. in Montreal. However, the Jackets are maintaining an optimistic outlook as they enter a busy February. They’ve got a packed week between today’s game, Bob’s Return Pt. II on Tuesday, and back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday at home, quickly followed by a visit from the Tampa Bay Lightning next Monday night.

The Canadiens are in the midst of an average season, sitting in about the middle of the pack in all their rankings. With a record of 6-4-0 in their last ten games, they aren’t working with any real momentum the way the CBJ are. The Jackets are the ones with everything to win/lose at this point in the season, so they’ll need to show up today against a solid Montreal team.

Player to Watch

Oliver Bjorkstrand is THAT GUY right now. With ten goals in the last seven games, he is literally on fire. Also worth noting is his uncanny ability to score when the Jackets need a goal most, not just when they’re already winning. He brought them into OT against the Sabres yesterday, earning the team another critical point despite the loss.

Jackets Notes

The Jackets have 21 points in the last 23 games, which tentatively places them in the playoffs (knock on wood). The Jackets recalled defensemen Andrew Peeke from the Cleveland Monsters, as Josh Anderson and Joonas Korpisalo are traveling with the team but are still out of the lineup. Fun fact: the Jackets are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games where they gave up the first goal, so being down from the start is not necessarily discouraging — especially when we have guys like Bjorkstrand scoring when we need to score. Despite needing to shake off some rust, the Jackets will quickly be whipped into shape by their packed schedule over the next week.

The Other Bench

Montreal easily dominated the Florida Panthers yesterday in a 4-0 win, marking a shutout for Carey Price and an encouraging win for a team that would need all the stars to align in order to earn a spot in the playoffs. Montreal is struggling, and it appears likely that they’ll go a third season without a spot in the playoffs — but a win against the Blue Jackets would make them another step closer in the right direction. As we all know from being Blue Jackets fans, things can change overnight. The Jackets will need to bring a high level of play to Canada in order to get the win they need over Montreal.

Season Series

11/12/19 CBJ 2 @ MTL 3
11/19/19 MTL 2 @ CBJ 5
2/2/20 CBJ @ MTL

Stats Preview

Montreal Columbus
3.04 (17) GPG 2.67 (24)
3.04 (15) GAPG 2.50 (3)
20.4% (13) PP% 17.4% (24)
79.3% (20) PK% 81.9% (10)
53.9% (2) 5v5 Corsi % 48.50% (22)
53.5% (4) 5v5 Fenwick % 50.4% (12)
7.5 (21) 5v5 Shot % 7.3 (27)
.920 (15) 5v5 Save % .933 (1)
Tomas Tatar,
G Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand,
Tomas Tatar,
A Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois,
Tomas Tatar,
P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois,
Tomas Tatar,
PIM Leader Nick Foligno,
Home / Road 11-7-7
6-4-0 Last 10 8-1-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Nick Foligno Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver Bjorkstrand
Gustav Nyquist Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Nathan Gerbe Boone Jenner Emil Bemstrom
Jakob Lilja Riley Nash Eric Robinson
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Scott Harrington Markus Nutivaara
Elvis Merzlikins
Matiss Kivlenieks

Montreal Canadiens

Tomas Tatar Phillip Danault Brendan Gallagher
Ilya Kovalchuk Nick Suzuki Joel Armia
Artturi Lehkonen Max Domi Jordan Weal
Nick Cousins Nate Thompson Dale Weise
Ben Chiarot Shea Weber
Marco Scandella Jeff Petry
Victor Mete Brett Mulak
Carey Price
Charlie Lindgren