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Game #41 Preview: Jackets return home to face Lightning after disappointing road trip

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Here's what you need to know

Knutsen and Modin battle for the puck Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (14-18-8, 36 points, 7th Central)

vs

Tampa Bay Lightning (26-10-2, 54 points, 2nd Central)

After finishing their latest road trip at 1-5-0, the Blue Jackets are looking to rebound against the Lightning at Nationwide Arena. Expect Tampa to come out flying in this one. On Sunday, they got pummeled by Detroit 5-1 and lost their spot atop the division to the Panthers. As for the home team, there are only three games left before the deadline and there are an equal number of points separating the Jackets from fourth and eighth in the division.

The Blue Jackets will suit up in their reverse retros for the last time this season. They will be looking to finish at .500 after going 1-2-0 in the throwbacks so far.

Player to Watch

Oliver Bjorkstrand

If the Blue Jackets are going to close the gap to the last playoff spot, they need to get hot offensively. Who better to lead them than one of the best five on five players in the league? Currently trailing the Maestro in points per 60 at even strength are the likes of David Pasternak, Patrick Kane, and Elias Pettersson. Jarmo, get this man a first line center!

Jackets Notes

The most recent road trip saw an average of 1.5 goals per game. That is simply not good enough to win games on a consistent basis in the NHL. This team needs a massive offensive boost if they want to make any noise. Patrik Laine continues to struggle as well as he is now pointless in his last six games.

With Nashville suddenly holding the last playoff spot, it is looking like they may not be parting with Ekholm at the deadline. The result is that David Savard could be the top defenseman available. This could very well mean an increased return for the pending UFA.

Lineup update: Nash is out tonight after exiting the game early on Sunday. Foudy and Grigorenko remain in the lineup and Dalpe will take Nash’s place.

The Other Bench

Defenseman Victor Hedman leads the Lightning in points (36) and assists (29). A joke could be made here about a defenseman leading Stamkos in points, but not when he would also lead the Jackets. Hedman also has more points than Foligno and Jenner combined (32). That being said, let us never forget Savard dancing around Hedman for this beauty.

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 2 @ TBL 3
04/06/21 TBL @ CBJ
04/08/21 TBL @ CBJ
04/22/21 CBJ @ TBL
04/25/21 CBJ @ TBL

Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
3.39 (3) GPG 2.40 (28)
2.42 (4) GAPG 3.15 (25)
26.2% (3) PP% 14.1% (27)
81.8% (10) PK% 77.2% (21)
52.2% (7) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 46.3% (30)
52.7% (6) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.1% (28)
52.3 (7) 5v5 Shot % 47.7 (25)
.934 (1) 5v5 Save % .912 (20)
Stamkos and Point, 16 G Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 14
Victor Hedman, 29 A Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 17
Victor Hedman, 36 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 31
Pat Maroon, 46 PIM Leader Max Domi, 39
11-6-2 Home / Road 7-6-6
6-4-0 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Patrik Laine Max Domi Eric Robinson
Oliver BJORKSTRAND Jack Roslovic Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexandre Texier Boone Jenner
Liam Foudy Zac Dalpe Mikhail Grigorenko
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Dean Kukan Mikko Lehtonen
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow Yanni Gourde Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon Ross Colton Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman Cal Foote
Ryan McDonagh Luke Schenn
Mikhail Sergachev Ben Thomas
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney