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Game #51 Preview: Battle of the Bottoms tonight at Nationwide

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Let’s end this winless streak already

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Winging it in Motown

Detroit Red Wings (17-25-8, 42 points, 7nd Central)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (15-25-10, 40 points, 8th Central)

The Blue Jackets will host the Detroit Red Wings today at Nationwide Arena, trying to end their current nine game losing streak. The pressure of making the playoffs has officially passed, yet the team has been unable to find wins. As we have seen throughout the season, they have significant trouble scoring. They average just 2.4 goals per game with their power play unsurprisingly unprolific at just 15%, ranked 28th in the league. However, this contrasts with their recent penalty kill success of 79.7%, ranked 15th in the league. The Blue Jackets have not played as well at home as they have away, which is not new for them. They are 1-6 for their last 7 home games. They also struggle to capitalize on winning against weaker teams, and this opponent is no exception: Detroit has the edge this season against the Blue Jackets. Last Sunday, Joonas Korpisalo suffered an injury during a third period penalty kill, and therefore Elvis Merzlikins will be in net with Matiss Kivlenieks as back-up. The replay looked as if he injured his groin as he hunched over in pain after sliding briskly to the left, but no confirmation yet as to the specifics of his “lower body” injury.

Player to Watch

As is expected, the line-up keeps changing as players fight for a spot on next year’s roster. Continue to watch Mikko Lehtonen, possibly Kole Sherwood, Ryan Macinnis, and possibly Gavin Bayreuther at defense. Josh Dunne has been sent back to the Monsters after failing to register a point during his 6 games with the Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand is the team’s goal leader at 15, with Jack Roslovic nearing his all-time career goals and already meeting his career point total. I’m hoping for Nathan Gerbe’s return after last game’s boarding right in front of the referee with no call.

The Other Bench

Detroit hasn’t looked good lately either, which is expected for two teams at the bottom of the division. They have lost four of their last 5 games, and don’t play well on the road. They are 9-47 in their last 56 road games. They also struggle on offense, with just 2.3 goals per game lead by Anthony Mantha with 11 goals, who has been traded to the Washington Capitals. There is speculation about the debut of centerman Joe Veleno, the Wing’s 2018 first-round draft pick, who was sidelined after suffering a mild concussion/whiplash in the last Swedish Hockey League season. Dylan Larkin and Bobby Ryan are both out with injuries.

Season Series

01/18/21 CBJ 3 @ DET 2
01/19/21 CBJ 2 @ DET 3 (OT)
03/02/2021 DET 1 @ CBJ 4
03/27/2021 CBJ 1 @ DET 3
03/28/2021 CBJ 1 @ DET 4
04/27/2021 DET @ CBJ
05/07/2021 DET @ CBJ
05/08/2021 DET @ CBJ

Stats

Detroit Columbus
2.28 (30) GPG 2.38 (29)
3.12 (24) GAPG 3.34 (26)
11.0% (30) PP% 15% (28)
76.9% (25) PK% 79.7% (15)
45.8% 5v5 Shot Attempt % 46.2%
45.7 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.8%
7.6% 5v5 Shot % 7.3%
.923 5v5 Save % .914
Jakub Vrana, 16 G Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 15
Filip Hronek, 21 A Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 23
Dylan Larkin, 23 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 38
Dylan Larkin, 34 PIM Leader Max Domi, 69
6-15-3 Home / Road 8-8-7
4-3-3 Last 10 1-7-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Jack Roslovic Stefan Matteau
Oliver BJORKSTRAND Max Domi Eric Robinson
Nathan Gerbe Alexandre Texier Cam Atkinson
Mikhail Grigorenko Zac Dalpe Ryan Macinnis
Michael Del Zotto Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov Mikko Lehtonen
Dean Kukan Gavin Bayreuther
Matiss Kivlenieks
Elvis Merzlikins
Detroit Red Wings
Valtteri Filppula Michael Rasmussen Jakub Vrana
Filip Zadina Vladislav Namestnikov Adam Erne
Evgeny Svechnikov Luke Glendening Darren Helm
Alex Biega Sam Gagner Richard Panik
Dennis Cholowski Filip Hronek
Marc Staal Troy Stecher
Dan Dekeyser Gustav Lindstrom
Thoman Greiss
Jonathan Bernier