Game Preview #31 - Crazy Eights?

The Jackets look to match a franchise record eighth straight win, against a familiar foe with an 8 all their own.

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets

December 18, 2014 - 7:00 PM EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Japers' Rink

Riding a winning streak always breeds confidence. Add in the fact that you have a goaltender playing out of his mind, and a mediocre division, and the fact that the Jackets are still alive for a playoff spot after such an atrocious start breeds even more.

Columbus is coming off arguably their best performance on Tuesday in Detroit, and with a goalie riding a .950 save percentage over a seven game winning streak, they welcome the Capitals to Nationwide to play them the second time in eight days. The Jackets won in overtime in DC last Thursday.

The big key? Staying out of the penalty box. To a man, all the players I talked to noted how terrible the three-penalty start last week was, and how they can't afford to give the league's top Power Play unit too many chances. The PK unit has been better of late, especially during the streak. "[The PK] is something that needs to be good, because it helps you win games," Nick Foligno said. "It's helped us win games and battle back in games. It's a big credit to every guy on our Penalty Kill and to our goalie as well."

But, they can ill afford to keep relying on that, especially against a team that's not overwhelming (not bad, mind you) at even strength but rains a fiery death on teams on the Power Play. "Hopefully we don't them as many chances as we gave them last game," Foligno said.

Columbus will be icing the same lineup from Tuesday, including newcomer Jeremy Morin and newly healthy Fedor Tyutin.

The Caps are playing well of late, despite losing in the epic 20-round shootout the other night in Florida. They're no doubt hungry for some payback after last week's loss to Columbus.

Todd Richards indicated that there would be no lineup changes. Richards also noted that, while obviously the team would like to score more goals, they have to keep playing defense first. Tonight, especially.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(13-15-2, 28 Points; 5th division, 12th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Jack Skille
Jeremy Morin Nick Foligno Brian Gibbons
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Corey Tropp Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals
(14-10-6, 34 Points; 4th Division, 10th Conference)

Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom Tom Wilson
Marcus Johansson Evgeny Kuznetsov Troy Brouwer
Brooks Laich Eric Fehr Joel Ward
Jason Chimera Michael Latta Jay Beagle
Brooks Orpik John Carlson
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt Mike Green
Braden Holtby
Justin Peters

Season Series

11/11/14 - Columbus 2 at Washington 4
12/11/14 - Columbus 3 at Washington 2 (OT)
12/18/14 - Washington at Columbus
01/27/15 - Washington at Columbus
03/03/15 - Washington at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Washington Columbus
2.83 (11) GPG 2.30 (24)
2.60 (15) GAPG 3.13 (26)
27.1% (1) PP% 22.5% (6)
77.5% (25) PK% 77.8% (24)
Alexander Ovechkin, 14 G leader Nick Foligno, 14
Nicklas Backstrom, 23 A leader Ryan Johansen, 18
Nicklas Backstrom, 31 Pts leader Nick Foligno / Ryan Johansen, 27
Tom Wilson, 60 PIM leader Jared Boll, 44
8-5-2 Road/Home 6-8-1
5-2-3 Last 10 7-3-0
12/16 @ Florida, L 2-1 (SO) Last Game 12/16 @ Detroit, W 1-0 (SO)

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