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Game #40 Preview: Blue Jackets are in Florida to take on the Lightning

Sean Kuraly and Mathieu Olivier will take on Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Amalie Arena - Tampa, Florida
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Raw Charge

Columbus Blue Jackets (12-25-2, 26 points, 8th Metro, 16th East)

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Tampa Bay Lightning (24-13-1, 50 points, 3rd Atlantic, 7th East)

Tonight’s matchup in Tampa features two heavyweights. There is a lot of experience and talent on the first lines of these two teams, no different than when they met two years in a row in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Tampa defense will have their hands full whenever Brad Larsen calls for his top unit to take the ice for offensive zone faceoffs. It’s a good thing Tampa will have first change, because otherwise the juggernaut offense of Columbus may be too much for them to handle.

Player to Watch

Mathieu Olivier

The Blue Jackets acquired Olivier from the Nashville Predators over the offseason for a fourth round draft pick. When the trade was made, there was not one soul in the league that predicted him to be one of the biggest success stories in the NHL this season. He started the campaign on the fourth line and provided a physical presence the team badly needed. Since then, he has risen to the top line and has scored at a scorching pace, tallying 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 20 games.

Jackets Notes

Many fans were worried that the Jackets would struggle offensively with all of the injuries they have had to endure. Luckily for them, that hasn’t been the case. Over the last 13 games, the Jackets have averaged a whopping 1.03 goals per 60 minutes at 5v5. Sure there may be 16 teams averaging 2.6 or more over the same period of time, but stats don’t tell the entire story! Hats off to the coaching staff for figuring out how to best utilize their top offensive talent.

The Other Bench

The Lightning haven’t been too impressive as of late. They have lost 4 out of their last 13 games and their power play has dropped to 6th in the league. They can only hope for another Todd Richards situation in Columbus so they can hire Brad Larsen as their power play coach next season, leading them to another Stanley Cup.

Season Series

10/14/22 - TBL 5 @ CBJ 2
12/15/22 - CBJ 1 @ TBL 4
1/9/23 - CBJ @ TBL

Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
3.47 (6) GPG 2.54 (30)
2.92 (13) GAPG 3.87 (30)
26.7% (6) PP% 16.0% (30)
81.1% (11) PK% 76.6% (18)
52.0% (7) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 45.4% (29)
52.4% (8) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 43.4% (29)
8.7 (10) 5v5 Shooting % 7.5 (27)
.921 (11) 5v5 Save % .903 (29)
Brayden Point, 22 G Leader Jenner, Gaudreau, 11
Nikita Kucherov, 41 A Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 27
Nikita Kucherov, 55 P Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 38
Pat Maroon, 54 PIM Leader Mathieu Olivier, 49
15-4-1 Home / Road 2-13-1
6-4-0 Last 10 2-8-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Liam Foudy Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Patrik Laine
Emil Bemstrom Kent Johnson Johnny Gaudreau
Kirill Marchenko Cole Sillinger Carson Meyer
Tim Berni Erik Gudbranson
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther Marcus Bjork
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Washington Capitals
Nikita Kucherov Brayden Point Brandon Hagel
Alex Killorn Steven Stamkos Anthony Cirelli
Pat Maroon Nicholas Paul Ross Colton
Corey Perry Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Vladislav Namestnikov
Nick Perbix Mikhail Sergachev
Erik Cernak Ian Cole
Cal Foote Haydn Fleury
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott