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Game Preview / GameThread #22: Columbus Blue Jackets head to DC to take on Washington Capitals

Here’s what you need to know.

Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals
Saturday, December 4, 2021 - 7:00 PM EDT
Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
TV: Bally’s Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Japers’ Rink

Columbus Blue Jackets, 12-9-0, 24 points, 5th Metro, 10th East
@
Washington Capitals, 14-4-6, 34 points, 1st Metro, 3rd East

The Columbus Blue Jackets head to the nation’s capital tonight nursing a three game losing skid following their latest outing against the Dallas Stars. Waiting for them in Capital One Arena are the Washington Capitals, one of the hottest teams in the league, buoyed by a Hart Trophy candidate. No rest for the weary.

To make things harder on the visitors, the Capitals could welcome back injured reinforcements:

Meanwhile, it appears Daniil Tarasov will be staying up, as Joonas Korpisalo was sent to injured reserve on Friday.

The Blue Jackets will be running into a buzzsaw of a Capitals team, a group that has won 9 of their last 13 games and has surged to first in the division. The Blue Jackets will need to tighten up significantly on the defensive end to have a chance to beat the Capitals. The Blue Jackets have learned some tough lessons over the last week - applying them to a Metro opponent would be paramount to getting back on track.

Player to Watch

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin is not just chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal scoring record (and, if he stays healthy, he’s got a chance of getting there), he’s playing like a league MVP again. After a down season in 2020-21 (by his standards) with 24-18-42 in 45 games played, Ovechkin has started this season with his hair on fire - he already has 19-19-38 in 24 games played. He’s eclipsed last season’s assists total already, and he’s on pace for over 70 goals this season. Ovechkin has turned back the clock this year, defying conventional aging assumptions and willing the Capitals to yet another elite season. He remains a force - and he’s scoring goals without doing it from the Ovechkin spot on the power play, to boot.

Jackets Notes

Daniil Tarasov made 34 saves in his NHL debut on Thursday night, including two saves on breakaways … Boone Jenner scored his 11th goal of the season on Thursday, good for 12th in the NHL … Alexandre Texier’s goal on Thursday, his seventh of the season, is a career high in goals … Columbus has been outscored 15-5 on this current road trip … Werenski was held without a shot for the first time all season

The Other Bench

The Capitals are coming in on the heels of a shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks … The Capitals have given up the first goal just eight times this season … Ovechkin had four goals over the last week, and his next goal will be his 750th of his career … Ovechkin’s next power play goal will tie Dave Andreychuk for the most all time in NHL history (274)

Season Series

11/12/2021 WSH 4 @ CBJ 3
12/04/2021 CBJ @ WSH
03/17/2022 WSH @ CBJ
04/28/2022 CBJ @ WSH

Stats

Washington Columbus
3.54 (5) GPG 3.19 (9)
2.50 (4) GAPG 3.24 (26)
18.1% (18) PP% 20.6% (11)
82.5% (14) PK% 83.9% (11)
50.82% (14) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.97% (24)
52.03% (10) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.51% (23)
10.75% (1) 5v5 Shooting % 8.32 (11)
.928 (11) 5v5 Save % .909 (29)
Alex Ovechkin, 19 G Leader Boone Jenner, 11
Evgeny Kuznetsov, 20 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 17
Alex Ovechkin, 38 P Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 19
Tom Wilson, 26 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, Cole Sillinger, 17
7-1-4 Home / Road 4-6-0
6-2-2 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Yegor Chinakhov Cole Sillinger Jakub Voracek
Gus Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver Bjorkstrand
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Max Domi Jack Roslovic Justin Danforth
Zach Werenski Adam Boqvist
Vladislav Gavrikov Jake Bean
Gavin Bayreuther Andrew Peeke
Elvis Merzlikins
Daniil Tarasov
Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin Evgeny Kuznetsov Aliakei Protas
Daniel Sprong Lars Eller Tom Wilson
Carl Hagelin Nic Dowd Garnet Hathaway
Beck Malenstyn Conor McMichael Brett Leason/td>
Martin Fehervary John Carlson
Dmitro Orlov Nick Jensen
Trevor Van Riemsdyk Justin Schultz
Vitek Vanacek
Ilya Samsonov