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Game #34 Preview: High-scoring Blue Jackets host struggling Capitals

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, December 21, 2023 – 7:00 PM ET
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Bally Sports Ohio – Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Japers’ Rink

Washington Capitals (16-9-4, 36 points, 5th Metropolitan, 8th East)
Columbus Blue Jackets (11-17-5, 27 points, 8th Metropolitan, 15th East)

Despite the cardiac arrests induced within the fanbase of the past three games, the Columbus Blue Jackets have tied their franchise record for most goals in a three-game stretch, with 18. They went 2-1 in that span, coming dangerously close to going 1-1-1, and allowed 15 goals. What will happen tonight, versus the Washington Capitals? No idea.

Player to Watch

The Youths

Kids these days, amirite? Those scoundrels are going out there and getting hat tricks, putting up multiple points, and scoring flashy goals! What ever happened to grit? What ever happened to defensive responsibility? What ever happened to rolling up your sleeves, blocking shots, and playing games the right way? Back in my day you won games by winning 2-1, with the home team winning the Cup in the third period.

But seriously, Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson, and the Russian Troika have been on a tear in the month of December. The Russians have a combined 22 points since they were united on December 1st, including Yegor Chinakhov and Kirill Marchenko having five and six goals respectively. Fantilli is tied for the team lead with nine points, and Kent Johnson has eight.

Jackets Notes

There’s a slight chance Damon Severson may play tonight, as he’s been skating in the past couple days. … Assistant coach Sean McCarthy remains day-to-day with a concussion, because the Blue Jackets can never be normal. … No idea who starts, is benched, and scratched for tonight in goal.

The Other Bench

Washington is in the second half of a back-to-back, having won 3-2 in overtime over the New York Islanders yesterday. … Tristan Jarry has more goals in the month of December than Alexander Ovechkin, which is less than ideal. … He has no goals in his last 14 games, but his four assists are good enough for fifth on the team, so… yay? … Speaking of Russians, Ivan Miroshnichenko will be making his NHL debut tonight.

Season Series

11/4/2023 – CBJ 1 at WSH 2
11/18/2023 – CBJ 3 at WSH 4
12/21/2023 – Washington at Columbus


2.41 (30)GPG3.18 (15)
2.76 (9)GAPG3.64 (31)
10.6% (30)PP%16.1% (25)
82.1% (10)PK%83.7% (7)
47.0% (26)5v5 Shot Attempt %46.6% (28)
46.4% (28)5v5 Unblocked Shot Attempt %46.9% (25)
8.1% (22)5v5 Shooting %10.1% (4)
.920 (11)5v5 Save %.904 (24)
Dylan Strome, 13G LeaderK. Marchenko and B. Jenner, 13
John Carlson, 15A LeaderZach Werenski, 24
Dylan Strome, 19P LeaderZach Werenski, 25
Tom Wilson, 65PIM LeaderErik Gudbranson, 44
5-3-2Last 104-5-1

Projected Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny GaudreauAdam FantilliJustin Danforth
Yegor ChinakhovDmitri VoronkovKirill Marchenko
Kent JohnsonCole SillingerEmil Bemstrom
Brendan GaunceSean KuralyAlexandre Texier
Zach WerenskiNick Blankenburg
Ivan ProvorovDavid Jiricek?
Jake Bean/Andrew PeekeErik Gudbranson
Elvis Merzlikins
Spencer Martin/Daniil Tarasov

Washington Capitals

Alexander OvechkinDylan StromeTom Wilson
Aliaksei ProtasHendrix LapierreAnthony Mantha
Matthew PhillipsEvgeny KuznetsovIvan Miroshnichenko
Beck MalenstynNic DowdNicolas Aube-Kubel
Martin FehervaryJohn Carlson
Rasmus SandinTrevor van Riemsdyk
Joel EdmundsonNick Jensen
Charlie Lindgren
Darcy Kuemper