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Game #34 Preview: Blue Jackets welcome Seth Jones and the Blackhawks to Nationwide Arena

Jackets look to start stringing some wins together

Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday, January 11, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Second City Hockey
Columbus Blue Jackets (16-16-1, 33 points, 5th Metro, 12th East)
at
Chicago Blackhawks (12-18-5, 29 points, 7th Central, 10th East)

The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in the first of two meetings between the two clubs. This was the second matchup on the schedule, but the first game was postponed due to the recent Covid outbreak. That game will more than likely be made up in February, during what was originally going to be the Olympic break. Tonight’s game will mark the return of Seth Jones to Nationwide Arena and the fans who adored him for six seasons. I expect Seth to get a warm welcome back during his video tribute, but other than that, mostly indifference.

If you happen to be going to the game tonight, do yourself a favor and show up early and check out the NHL’s Black Hockey History Tour.

Player to Watch

Adam Boqvist

No matter who it is, or what the situation around their departure was, a player is always going to have a little extra in the tank when they play their old team. Adam Boqvist went on record saying that the Hawks had informed him that he would not be traded, only to trade him to the Blue Jackets shortly after. I see a big game from Boqvist tonight to stick it to his old club.

Jackets Notes

Elvis Merzlikins returned to practice yesterday and J.F. Berube was returned to Cleveland, so it’s possible he could get back in goal, but that remains to be seen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joonas Korpisalo get another start after his strong performance on Saturday.

It was also reported that Blue Jackets forward Gregory Hofmann will not be returning to the team. He left to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, and was expected to return soon. However, the team was forced to suspend the 29-year-old rookie when he notified the club he would not be returning. I can’t say I blame him. I couldn’t imagine being an ocean away from my child, not to mention playing on a struggling team wondering if he will even get into the lineup. I wish Hofmann and his family the best, but at the same time I am glad he will not be taking anymore ice time from the Jackets’ younger prospects. Once his contract is officially terminated he will join his former team in Switzerland, EV Zug.

The Other Bench

There’s no other way to put it: The Chicago Blackhawks have been a disappointment this year. After making multiple trades in the offseason to shore up the defense, and adding a future Hall of Famer in net, the Hawks looked to get back into contention and make their return to the postseason. Our own Jody Shelley even predicted the Blackhawks would win another cup.

Their season got off to a terrible 1-9-2 start, which ultimately cost former head coach, Jeremy Colliton his job. Since then, the Hawks have stabilized but have A LOT of ground to make up if they want to make a run. With the Blue Jackets owning the Hawks 2022 first round pick, we will all be rooting against them the rest of the season.

I also took great pleasure in reading this article.

Season Series

Dec. 28, 2021 PPD
Jan. 11, 2022

Stats

Chicago Columbus
2.29 (30) GPG 3.12(12)
3.40 (26) GAPG 3.55(28)
18.8% (18) PP% 16.3% (26)
74.8% (26) PK% 76.9% (25)
47.07% (26) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.77% (24)
46.68% (28) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.73% (27)
6.94% (27) 5v5 Shooting % 9.17(5)
.913 (25) 5v5 Save % .909% (27)
Alex Debrincat, 21 G Leader Boone Jenner, 13
Patrick Kane, 24 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 24
Patrick Kane, 31 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND and Jakub Voracek, 25
Kirby Dach, 31 PIM Leader Andrew Peeke, 26
6-11-2 Home / Road 11-5-1
3-4-3 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Gus Nyquist
Jakub Voracek Jack Roslovic Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Emil Bemstrom Cole Sillinger Max Domi
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Yegor Chinakhov
Zach Werenski Jake Bean
Vladislav Gavrikov Adam Boqvist
Dean Kukan Andrew Peeke
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Chicago Blackhawks
Dominik Kubalik Dylan Strome Patrick Kane
Alex Debrincat Jonathan Toews Brett Connolly
Philipp Kurashev Kirby Dach MacKenzie Entwistle
Jujhar Kaira Henrik Borgstrom Ryan Carpenter
Jake McCabe Seth Jones
Calvin De Haan Connor Murphy
Ian Mitchell Riley Stillman
Marc-Andre Fleury
Kevin Lankinen

Let’s go Jackets!