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Game #81 Preview: Jackets face Lightning in last home game of the season

Can the Blue Jackets avoid a season sweep by the Lightning?

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 7:00PM ET
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 The Fan
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (36-37-7, 79 points, 6th Metropolitan, 10th East)
at
Tampa Bay Lightning (50-22-8, 108 points, 3rd Atlantic, 4th East)

The last home game of the season is upon us and only one more game remains after tonight. There have been a lot of positives in Columbus this season and Tuesday in Tampa was no exception. The team played well and showed no signs of coasting despite ultimately getting out talented and losing 4-1 to the Lightning.

I would expect no lack of effort by the Jackets tonight. They are going to want to get a win for the fans as well as prevent the Lightning from completing the season series sweep. In addition, three more points on the season would mean ending the season at .500.

Player to Watch

Elvis Merzlikins

The Latvian goaltender has had an up and down season, but he’s played very well down the stretch. In his last 10 starts, Elvis has a .925 save percentage and has done a great job giving his offense a chance to win games. Expect him to be extra hyped tonight in front of a big crowd. He’ll want to give the fans a show.

Jackets Notes

Werenski returned to the lineup on Tuesday and got rewarded with a puck to the nose … Kuraly has been ruled out for the last two games with a foot injury … Laine hasn’t been ruled out, but it remains unclear whether or not he’ll play tonight or Friday … Jenner has also been ruled out for the last two games.

Season Series

1/4/22 - TBL 7 @ CBJ 2
4/26/22 - CBJ 1 @ TBL 4
4/28/22 - TBL @ CBJ

Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
3.46 (7) GPG 3.15 (14)
2.76 (6) GAPG 3.62 (29)
23.3% (10) PP% 17.8% (24)
81.1% (12) PK% 78.8% (20)
51.2% (11) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.5% (23)
51.5% (11) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.6% (25)
9.5% (3) 5v5 Shot % 9.2% (7)
.919 (13) 5v5 Save % .909 (25)
Steven Stamkos, 39 G Leader Patrik Laine, 26
Stamkos & Hedman, 62 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 54
Steven Stamkos, 101 P Leader Jakub Voracek, 59
Pat Maroon, 130 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, 61
26-8-6 Home / Road 16-21-2
6-3-1 Last 10 4-4-2

Projected Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gustav Nyquist Jack Roslovic Jakub Voracek
Yegor Chinakhov Cole Sillinger Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Eric Robinson Brendan Gaunce Carson Meyer
Kent Johnson Justin Danforth Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov Nick Blankenburg
Dean Kukan Jake Bean
Elvis Merzlikins
JF Berube

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat Steven Stamkos Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel Brayden Point Alex Killorn
Pat Maroon Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Zach Bogosian
Ross Colton Nick Paul Corey Perry
Victor Hedman Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh Cal Foote
Mikhail Sergachev Jan Rutta
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott