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Game #26 Preview/Gamethread: Blue Jackets make first trip to Seattle

The five game road trip kicks off against the Kraken.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Seattle Kraken Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 10:00 PM EST
Climate Pledge Arena - Seattle, Washington
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Davy Jones Locker Room

Columbus Blue Jackets (13-11-1, 27 points, 5th Metro, 10th East)

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Seattle Kraken (9-15-2, 20 points, 8th Pacific, 15th West)

The Blue Jackets are still above .500, but are currently under that benchmark over the last 10 games. After a disappointing shootout loss to the Ducks, the Jackets are in Seattle for the first time to take on the Kraken. The sea monsters are also wanting to regroup after dropping their last two to a total score of 9-1. After tonight, one of these two teams will have a renewed confidence while the other will be continuing their search for solid play.

Player to Watch

Cole Sillinger

The youngest player in the league certainly hasn’t been bad. He still looks like he belongs and contributes on most nights. He’s still on pace for over 30 points — a respectable mark for an 18 year old. That being said, he may be hitting a wall in his development. He has only one goal and one assist in his last twelve games. The big question needing answered is what’s best for his overall development. Does he need to play through the slump or does he need to be playing elsewhere?

The Columbus front office still has the option of loaning him to Team Canada for the World Junior Championship. General Manager Jarmo Kekäläinen has said that Sillinger will remain with the Blue Jackets if he’s playing a large role with the club. While he’s still playing that role, the option remains if the front office believes he could benefit from some renewed confidence and the experience of competing in the world’s premier junior tournament. The Jackets have until Dec. 15th to make a decision. Coincidentally, they’ll be in Edmonton, where the tournament is being held, on that very day. They are scheduled to take on the Oilers on the 16th.

Blue Jackets Notes

Adam Boqvist has been put on IR for the second time this season after receiving a cheap shot to the head from Troy Terry Thursday night against the Ducks. Jake Christiansen has been recalled from the Cleveland Monsters and could play his first NHL game tonight. The 22 year old is 8-25-33 and +7 in 49 career games with the Monsters. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020.

Yegor Chinakhov has been in the press box for three straight games and Emil Bemstrom sat for a game after being recalled earlier this week. The Jackets played much better against the Ducks, but struggled to finish some quality chances. While Gregory Hofmann and Justin Danforth have been very serviceable, it may be time to play the two prospects with better shots and more potential for long-term contributions in Columbus. I’m willing this to happen by updating the projected lineups.

Joonas Korpisalo has been activated from IR and Daniil Tarasov has been sent back to Cleveland.

Kraken Notes

The Kraken have performed below expectations to begin the season. They currently sit at the bottom of the Pacific division, but it’s not all bad news for the newest franchise in the league. Fancy stats have them in the middle of the league in corsi and expected goals for percentage. So why the bad record? They have had the worst goaltending in the league and it’s not close. The team’s 5v5 save percentage is .881 — next worst is the Avalanche at .905. Philipp Grubauer is dead last among goalies in goals saved above expected at -17.3 — next worst goaltender with at least 10 starts is Alexandar Georgiev at -5.5.

Season Series

10/16/21 - SEA 1 @ CBJ 2 OT
12/11/21 - CBJ @ SEA

Stats

Seattle Columbus
2.81 (19) GPG 3.16 (11)
3.54 (29) GAPG 3.24 (24)
16.2% (25) PP% 20.3% (11)
81.0% (15) PK% 82.1% (13)
49.6% (18) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 48.2% (22)
49.9% (17) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.5% (24)
7.9% (15) 5v5 Shooting % 8.5% (9)
.881 (32) 5v5 Save % .911 (27)
Jordan Eberle, 12 G Leader Boone Jenner, 11
Jaden Schwartz, 13 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 19
Jaden Schwartz, 18 P Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 21
Jeremy Lauzon, 34 PIM Leader Cole Sillinger, 19
6-8-0 Home / Road 4-8-0
5-4-1 Last 10 4-5-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi Boone Jenner Jakub Voracek
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Oliver Bjorkstrand
Yegor Chinakhov Cole Sillinger Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Zach Werenski Jake Bean
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Gabriel Carlsson Jake Christiansen
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Seattle Kraken
Jordan Eberle Alex Wennberg Jaden Schwartz
Brandon Tanev Yanni Gourde Calle Jarnkrok
Marcus Johansson Jared McCann Mason Appleton
Joonas Donskoi Morgan Geekie Ryan Donato/td>
Adam Larsson Vince Dunn
Mark Giordano Jamie Oleksiak
Will Borgen Carson Soucy
Philipp Grubauer
Joey Daccord