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Game #6 Preview/Gamethread: Jackets and Bolts face off in matinee while PLD trade talks continue

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Here’s what you need to know

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, January 23 - 2:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NHL Network, ESPN+; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Tampa Bay Lightning (3-0-0, 6 points, 1st Central)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-2, 4 points, 6th Central)

The eyes of the hockey world will be on Columbus this afternoon, and not just because this game is on national TV in North America and on during prime time in Europe. Instead, the interest is over the ongoing drama surrounding Pierre-Luc Dubois. On Friday night, Darren Dreger was the first to report that trade talks had intensified and that the Blue Jackets had narrowed down their list of trade partners:

Later, Pierre LeBrun identified the leading contenders:

Per Renaud Lavoie in Montreal, the trade should be imminent. Maybe even between when I write this late Friday and it publishes Saturday morning!

Player to Watch

Max Domi

In terms of something to watch on the ice, my attention is on Domi. He was brought in to strengthen center depth and push Dubois, but now the burden falls on him to carry the load as the top center. He started slow, but has earned assists in his last two games.

Jackets Notes

The projected lineup below is a bit of a crapshoot. Friday’s practice was optional, so there were no new lines reported. Dubois did practice, but if he is not traded by game time he will be scratched while trade talks continue ... One lineup change we know of for sure is that Nathan Gerbe will take the place of Emil Bemstrom. Gerbe was recalled from the taxi squad yesterday and Bemstrom was added to it. This may indicate that Bemstrom will spend time in the AHL when their season starts ... Speaking of the AHL, the Cleveland Monsters released their schedule ... If the goalie rotation continues apace, today’s starter will be Elvis Merzlikins. He has had a rusty start, allowing four goals per game and saving just 86.7% of shots faced. Joonas Korpisalo has a save percentage of .935, including 34 saves on 37 shots faced against the Lightning on Thursday.

The Other Bench

Former Blue Jacket and current Lightning backup goalie Curtis McElhinney is still in the COVID protocol, but in the meantime enjoy this longform article from Raw Charge from last month which talks to him about his journey through the AHL and NHL to finally lifting the Stanley Cup.

Season Series

01/21/21 TBL 3 @ CBJ 2 (OT)
01/23/21 TBL @ CBJ
03/30/21 CBJ @ TBL
04/01/21 CBJ @ TBL
04/06/21 TBL @ CBJ
04/08/21 TBL @ CBJ
04/22/21 CBJ @ TBL
04/25/21 CBJ @ TBL

Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
4.33 (3) GPG 2.00 (28)
1.67 (2) GAPG 3.20 (20)
25.0% (10) PP% 9.1% (24)
72.7% (24) PK% 90.0% (6)
52.7% (10) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.6% (22)
54.4% (5) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.0% (21)
12.1 (3) 5v5 Shot % 7.0 (19)
.970 (2) 5v5 Save % .920 (16)
Blake Coleman, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Mathieu Joseph, 2 G Leader Alexandre Texier, 3
Steven Stamkos, 4 A Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND and Michael Del Zotto, 3
Steven Stamkos, 6 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 5
Jan Rutta, 6 PIM Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 19
1-0-0 Home / Road 0-0-1
3-0-0 Last 10 1-2-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner Alexandre Texier Nick Foligno
Liam Foudy Max Domi Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Mikhail Grigorenko Kevin Stenlund Cam Atkinson
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Nathan Gerbe
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Michael Del Zotto Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
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