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Game #16 Preview: Banged Up Columbus Blue Jackets continue homestand, host Montreal Canadiens

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Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 7:00 EDT
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Bally’s Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s blog: Habs Eyes on the Prize

Montreal Canadiens, 8-7-1, 17 points, 6th Atlantic, 11th East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-9-1, 11 points, 8th Metro, 16th East

The Columbus Blue Jackets, winners of two in a row (!!), continue their homestand tonight as they play host to the Montreal Canadiens. The Jackets, who have earned 5 of their last 6 available points, face a Canadiens team that had won three straight before dropping their last outing to the Devils.

Both teams are banged up, but the Blue Jackets are one of the more significantly injured teams in the league - with the potential loss of Jake Bean and Elvis Merzlikins, the Jackets could be without nearly $40 million worth of roster players tonight. Can the Blue Jackets find a way to overcome the latest slew of injuries to win their third straight game?

Player to Watch

Marcus Bjork

What if I told you the Blue Jackets have a single point-per-game player right now, and his name is Marcus Bjork? Since being called up and playing his first two NHL games, Bjork has 1-1-2 in 17:45 per night. He has been asked to play an outsized role and is holding his own. His underlying numbers are nothing to write home about, but Bjork is a big body (6’3”, 203 pounds) and has shown that he can handle the burden on a depleted blue line. For a player on a one year ELC, Bjork has not looked out of place.

Jackets Notes

Jake Bean, Elvis Merzlikins, and Emil Bemstrom all were banged up on Tuesday, but at the time of writing, head coach Brad Larsen had no updates ... There is still no time frame on Jakub Voracek’s return, he remains out indefinitely ... Vladislav Gavrikov has both overtime winners for the Blue Jackets this season ... Daniil Tarasov was brought up on emergency recall after Merzlikins was banged up and needed help leaving the ice ... Korpisalo made 18 saves in relief and earned the win

The Other Bench

The Canadiens, who gave the Devils their tenth straight win on Tuesday, were paced by Evgenii Dadonov, who led all skaters with an xGF% of 72.6% ... Jonathan Drouin is out four to six weeks with an upper-body injury ... In response to the Drouin injury, the Canadiens have recalled Rem Pitlick from the Laval Rocket ... Mike Matheson is nearing a return from injury, which could force early-season revelation Arber Xhekaj’s return to Laval

Season Series

11/17/2022 MTL @ CBJ
11/23/2022 MTL @ CBJ
03/25/2023 CBJ @ MTL

Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.94 (21) GPG 2.71 (26)
3.31 (21) GAPG 4.33 (32)
15.9% (29) PP% 10.5% (32)
79.6% (13) PK% 78.6% (15)
48.51% (21) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 44.45% (28)
49.02% (20) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 44.41% (28)
9.11% (7) 5v5 Shot % 8.77% (13)
.913 (20) 5v5 Save % .884 (32)
Nick Suzuki, 10 G Leader Johnny Gaudreau, Boone Jenner, 6
Kirby Dach, 10 A Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 7
Nick Suzuki, 19 P Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 13
Josh Anderson, 21 PIM Leader Mathieu Olivier, 17
3-3-1 Home / Road 4-5-0
5-4-1 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau Boone Jenner Gustav Nyquist
Yegor Chinakhov Cole Sillinger Kent Johnson
Liam Foudy Jack Roslovic Brendan Gaunce
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Jake Christiansen Marcus Bjork
Gavin Bayreuther Erik Gudbranson
Joonas Korpisalo
Daniil Tarasov

Montreal Canadiens

Cole Caufield Nick Suzuki Kirby Dach
Mike Hoffman Christian Dvorak Brendan Gallagher
Evgenii Dadonov Sean Monahan Josh Anderson
Juraj Slafkovsky Jake Evans Michael Pezzetta
Kaiden Guhle David Savard
Joel Edmundson Arber Xhekaj
Jordan Harris Johnathan Kovacevic
Jake Allen
Samuel Montembeault