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Game 38 Preview: Can lightning strike twice for Jackets?

The Blue Jackets need a win and they go for another in Tampa.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, April 1 - 7:00 P.M. EST
Amalie Arena - Tampa, Florida
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, NHL Network, ESPN+; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (14-15-8, 36 points, 6th Central)


Tampa Bay Lightning (24-9-2, 50 points, 1st Central)

The title writes itself. Shoutout Columbus for coming back from their weekend off — vacation in Detroit? — to stick it to the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night. Maybe it was surprising for some that the Columbus Blue Jackets were able to pull off a win against the Bolts. But as I’ve stated, as recently as Tuesday’s The Cannon Cast, the Blue Jackets seem to play down, or up, to their competition.

And after a complete no-show versus the Detroit Red Wings over the weekend, the least Columbus could do was show up for their next opponent. It just happened to be the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Player to Watch

Patrik Laine needs to get going.

Jackets Notes

Columbus could take a hit in the roster department as Oliver Bjorkstrand didn’t practice on Wednesday (non-Covid related illness). ... Elvis Merzlikins had a great game on Tuesday so I would keep rolling with him. Per Jeff Svoboda, Merzlikins has a .926 SV% over the last eight games while Joonas Korpisalo has a .916% over his last 11 starts. ... With Max Domi having played in 305 consecutive games, that is the seventh longest active streak in the NHL. ... John Tortorella’s 669 career wins is three behind Mike Keenan for 12th in NHL history. ... As we know, Columbus plays many one-goal games (20, tied third-most in the NHL) and the Jackets are 10-2-8 in those games. ... Tuesday’s win at Amalie Arena is Columbus’s first in there in the regular season since Jan. 13, 2017. Of course, Columbus won two there a few years ago when they swept Tampa Bay out of the playoffs.

This might be the issue. Let’s not lose sight of the big picture because of a few ‘key’ wins:

The Other Bench

Do you really think Tampa Bay is going to lose tonight? Sure. They could! I really am hard pressed to think Columbus does it again. I’m sure the effort will be there but Tampa losing twice?

Tampa Bay has actually lost three in a row and haven’t lost four consecutive games since Feb. 20-27, 2020. There’s still lots of games left between the teams and Tampa has a losing record to Columbus (1-2), the only losing record Tampa has to anyone in the Central Division.

Season Series

01/21/21 TBL 3 @ CBJ 2 (OT)
01/23/21 TBL 2 @ CBJ 5
03/30/21 CBJ 3 @ TBL 1
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


Tampa Bay Columbus
3.52 (2) GPG 2.49 (26)
2.40 (5) GAPG 3.11 (23)
27.4% (2) PP% 14.9% (26)
81.8% (9) PK% 76.2% (23)
51.9% (8) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 46.0% (31)
52.5% (6) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.8% (28)
8.8 (10) 5v5 Shot % 7.5 (20)
.935 (1) 5v5 Save % .915 (24)
Steven Stamkos, 16 G Leader Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, 13
Viktor Hedman, 27 A Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 17
Viktor Hedman, 33 P Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 30
Pat Maroon, 46 PIM Leader Max Domi, 37
13-3-0 Home / Road 7-9-2
6-4-0 Last 10 4-3-3

Projected Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi Kevin Stenlund Patrik Laine
Oliver Bjorkstrand Jack Roslovic Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner Alexandre Texier Nick Foligno
Liam Foudy Zac Dalpe Eric Robinson
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Mikko Lehtonen Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow Tyler Johnson Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon Ross Colton Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman Cal Foote
Mikhail Sergachev Luke Schenn
Ryan McDonagh Andreas Borgman
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney