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Game #60 Preview/Gamethread: Battered Blue Jackets host desperate Golden Knights

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Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sunday, March 13, 2022 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Knights on Ice

Vegas Golden Knights (32-24-4, 68 points, 4th Pacific, 8th West)

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Columbus Blue Jackets (29-27-3, 61 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)

Tonight in Columbus, we watch two teams that have skidded recently and are dealing with multiple injuries to key players. Which broken team will prevail? My money is on the team that still has Stanley Cup aspirations, but don’t rule out the resolve of these Blue Jackets

Player to Watch

Jack Eichel

We’re almost a week away from the trade deadline, but it’s unlikely that any trade will be bigger than the one made in November when Vegas acquired Eichel from Buffalo. Eichel and the Sabres disagreed over what surgery he should get for an injury to his spine. Vegas let Eichel get his surgery of choice, and he appears to be as good as new now. He has four goals and four assists in 12 games since entering the lineup. Unfortunately for Vegas, they are just 4-7-1 in those games, largely due to other key players missing, like captain Mark Stone.

Jackets Notes

Devastating news yesterday, as the Jackets announced that team captain and points leader Boone Jenner was placed on the IR and would be out “week-to-week” with a lower body injury. Per head coach Brad Larsen, this is something that has been bothering Jenner for some time, and was aggravated on Friday night ... Also on Friday, Jake Voracek left the game after taking a knee-to-knee hit from Marcus Foligno. Foligno was not penalized during the game, but received a $5,000 fine from the Department of Player Safety yesterday (the largest fine allowed by the CBA). Voracek is day-to-day and will not play tonight ... Patrik Laine also suffered a hit to the knee on Friday, in overtime, but he is a game time decision. He skated this morning, so that is a good sign ... Brendan Gaunce will shift over to center, and Trey Fix-Wolansky was recalled from Cleveland. Will that TFW/Gaunce/Bemstrom line play more than five minutes? I doubt it!

Seriously though, with such important players missing time, this is a great opportunity to give young players more minutes. Let them face tough competition, and see how they stack up. Let them play through mistakes.

The Other Bench

In addition to Mark Stone, Vegas has Alec Martinez, Mattias Janmark, and Nolan Patrick on IR. Robin Lehner, Brayden McNabb, and Reilly Smith are day-to-day ... Ben Hutton was just placed in the COVID protocols today. Danill Miromanov has been recalled from Henderson to take his place on the third pair ... Vegas has lost the first three games of their ongoing five game road trip. They sit just one point ahead of Dallas for the final Wild Card spot, and the Stars have three games in hand. This team invested a lot to make a run for the Cup this year, and may end up missing the playoffs. Even if they do make it, as it stands now they would face Colorado in the first round. Eeep.

Season Series

11/20/2021 CBJ 2 @ VGK 3
03/13/2022 VGK @ CBJ

Stats

Vegas Columbus
3.07 (14) GPG 3.20 (12)
2.93 (15) GAPG 3.66 (30)
17.4% (26) PP% 18.0% (24)
79.3% (17) PK% 79.3% (17)
52.4% (10) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.0% (25)
53.8% (6) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.1% (29)
8.1 (15) 5v5 Shooting % 9.3 (6)
.915 (18) 5v5 Save % .907 (30)
Jonathan Marchessault, 24 G Leader Boone Jenner, 23
Chandler Stephenson, 29 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 40
Jonathan Marchessault, 45 P Leader Boone Jenner, 44
Keegan Kolesar, 54 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, 43
16-11-1 Home / Road 16-11-3
4-6-0 Last 10 4-4-2

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Patrik Laine
Max Domi Cole Sillinger Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Yegor Chinakhov
Trey Fix-Wolansky Brendan Gaunce Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Jake Bean
Gavin Bayreuther Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Vegas Golden Knights
Max Pacioretty Jake Eichel Jonathan Marchessault
Evgenii Dadonov William Karlsson Mike Amadio
Will Carrier Chandler Stephenson Nicolas Roy
Jonas Rondbjerg Jake Leschyshyn Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague Alex Pietrangelo
Zach Whitecloud Shea Theodore
Daniil Miromanov Dylan Coghlan
Logan Thompson
Laurent Brossoit