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Game #5 Preview: Blue Jackets take on Tampa Bay in first home game of the season

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Maybe playing at home will shake some goals out of the Blue Jackets.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, January 21 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: FOX Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-1)

vs.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0)

Here’s hoping that playing a home game for the first time since last winter will be a shock to the system that the Jackets sorely need. And if playing at home doesn’t do it, hopefully the Tampa Bay Lightning will provide a literal shock to jumpstart the Jackets in an otherwise sluggish start to their season.

The Jackets play eight of their next ten games at home, so it would behoove them to start tonight off on the right foot. They lost both games against the Predators this past weekend, and only won one against the Red Wings, losing the second game in a quick OT on Tuesday night. The games aren’t going to get any easier, so the Jackets need to work out their issues and get going against the currently undefeated Tampa Bay.

Player to Watch

Max Domi

(Taps Max Domi’s head like a microphone) Is this thing on? I’ve been dying to see some exciting play out of Domi, but his first four appearances as a Blue Jacket have been fairly forgettable. It’s been nice to watch him work with Boone Jenner, who’s had a pretty good week on the wing, but I’m ready to see him break out of his shell and be the stand-out player I’ve been anticipating. I know he’s got it in him, and we’re all ready to see it. Any time now! Tampa Bay would be a great team to have a breakout series against.

Jackets Notes

The energy hasn’t been there for the Blue Jackets so far this season, and John Tortorella spoke on that yesterday during his weekly segment with 97.1 The Fan: “We have to realize as a team this isn’t the bubble. It doesn’t have the same intensity as the bubble. I think athletes are always looking — they miss the fans, they miss that type of juice in buildings. The bubble was a little bit different because it was playoffs. This is the grind of a hockey season.”

Forward Mikko Koivu is still out tonight due to COVID protocol, and Tortorella implied that the only lineup change from Tuesday will be Joonas Korpisalo starting in net.

The Other Bench

The Lightning is coming in with all the momentum they need to sweep the Jackets, should we let that happen - they just swept Chicago this past weekend. The Lightning are only short backup goalie Curtis McElhinney due to COVID protocol, as well as Nikita Kucherov, who is out for the regular season due to hip surgery.

Steven Stamkos is arguably their most dangerous player on offense right now, having already racked up two goals and three assists in his first two games.

Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
5.00 (1) GPG 2.00 (27)
1.50 (30) GAPG 3.25 (9)
28.6% (7) PP% 0.0% (30)
71.4% (23) PK% 88.9% (7)
50.1% (16) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 48.7% (18)
52.2% (10) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 48.4% (21)
15.9% (1) 5v5 Shot % 7.5% (14)
.978 (2) 5v5 Save % .914 (19)
Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, 2 G Leader Alexandre Texier, 3
Steven Stamkos, 3 A Leader Michael Del Zotto, 3
Steven Stamkos, 5 P Leader Alexandre Texier, 4
Barclay Goodrow, 4 PIM Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 19
2-0-0 Home / Road 0-0-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner Max Domi Nick Foligno
Liam Foudy Alexandre Texier Oliver Bjorkstrand
Mikhail Grigorenko Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Michael Del Zotto Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Steven Stamkos
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli Tyler Johnson
Blake Coleman Yanni Gourde Barclay Goodrow
Patrick Maroon Mitchell Stephens Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev Luke Schenn
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Chris Gibson