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Game 66 Preview: Blue Jackets host Wild and woolly Minnesota

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Columbus could use two points as they look for some distance in playoff race.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Minnesota Wild (31-25-7, 69 points, 6th Central, 11th West)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (31-20-14, 76 points, 5th Metro, 8th East)

The Blue Jackets come into play off their loss Tuesday night to the Wild, 5-4, from St. Paul. Tonight the two comes reconvene at Nationwide Arena. The Wild played last night in Detroit, beating the Red Wings convincingly, 7-1. Though Columbus comes in losers in nine of the last 10 games, they preside over the second wild card spot in the East after going 1-4-5 over their last 10.

Player to Watch

Nick Foligno, two black eyes and all, has been on fire lately. With three goals in his last two games, and four over the last four, he's upped his game at key time for the Blue Jackets in the middle of a pivotal stretch. For a team starved for goal-scoring all season, and in light of all the injuries, Foligno has lived this season’s unofficial-turned-official ‘next man up’ mantra lately.

Jackets Notes

Emil Bemstrom has goals in three-straight games. ... Calvin Thurkauf was sent back to Cleveland on Thursday. ... Riley Nash and Alexander Wennberg participated in the Blue Jackets optional practice Thursday. ... Since Dec. 9, the Jackets are 20-6-10, the second best mark in the league (Lightning) with 50 points over that span. ... Columbus’ 14 overtime losses are the most in the league. ... Columbus is 4-1-1 over the last six home games against the Wild.

The Other Bench

The Wild, looking to reinvigorate things for a chance at the playoffs, changed coaches earlier this month, as Bruce Boudreau was fired in favor of interim coach Dean Evason. ... Since the change, the Wild are 4-2-0, three points outside the final Western Conference wild card spot, and are sixth in the Central Division. ... Devan Dubnyk (11-15-2, 3.34, .892) has had a tough season on and off the ice, from dealing with injury to leaving the team for a few days to tend to his wife’s medical condition in November. ... Alex Stalock (17-9-4, 2.68, .908) has seen the net on a regular basis since January, and won Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jackets, as well as last night’s game at Detroit.

Season Series

02/25/2020 CBJ 4 @ MIN 5
02/28/2020 MIN @ CBJ

Stats

Minnesota Columbus
3.11 (15) GPG 2.62 (27)
3.16 (24) GAPG 2.57 (3)
21.0% (12) PP% 16.2% (26)
76.3% (27) PK% 81.7% (11)
49.9% (16) 5v5 Corsi % 49.1% (18)
50.1% (15) 5v5 Fenwick % 50.9% (13)
9.2 (4) 5v5 Shot % 6.9 (29)
.915 (20) 5v5 Save % .930 (4)
Zach Parise, 21 G Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 21
Ryan Suter, 35 A Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 28
Kevin Fala, Eric Staal, 45 P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 46
Ryan Hartman, 60 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, 62
13-15-2 Home / Road 19-11-4
6-3-1 Last 10 1-4-5

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Nathan Gerbe
Gustav Nyquist Pierre-Luc Dubois Stefan Matteau
Devin Shore Kevin Senlund Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Markus Nutivaara
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Scott Harrington Andrew Peeke
Joonas Korpisalo
Matiss Kivlenieks
Minnesota Wild
Gerald Mayhew Eric Staal Kevin Fiala
Zach Parise Joel Eriksson Ek Jordan Greenway
Marcus Foligno Alex Galchenyuk Mats Zucarello
Ryan Donato Mikko Koivu Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin Mathew Dumba
Brad Hunt Greg Pateryn
Devan Dubnyk
Alex Stalock