Game Preview #47 - Second Verse, Same As The First

The Jackets get their second chance in 17 days for an improbable home win against the league-leading Caps.

Blue Jackets vs. Capitals
7:00 PM - Game Faceoff

Sergei Bobrovsky has twice now been activated and slated to make his first start back from IR against Washington. Looks like this time, though, it's actually going to happen. Kudos go to Joonas Korpisalo, who has shown a steady calm despite being thrust into the toughest situation of his young pro career. If he can continue to develop, his mental makeup is good enough. Just have to see if the skill can follow. At 21, here's to hoping.

The Jackets, going back to that crazy December game against Dallas, are actually 4-3-1 in their last eight games. Considering that they were well on their way toward stealing the LA game in which Bob got hurt, it would have been interesting to see how they'd have done with Bob throughout that 6-9-3 stretch (including the LA OTL) without him. Do they steal that LA win? Grab a couple more of the close ones along the way? 10-6-2 has them five points out of a Wild Card spot.

But, they're not that team. They're the team in 30th, still at this moment with the best chance to win the Auston Matthews derby.

HOWEVER, that same team showed up and somehow eeked out a shootout win against these same juggernaut Caps 17 days ago. Both Power Plays loomed large in that game, with the teams combining for four PPGs out of the eight total goals scored. The Caps Power Play is... well, it's a monster. The Jackets' Power Play is equal parts Jekyl and Hyde.

In short, Columbus will need all facets of their game to show up tonight. They'll need to capitalize (rim shot) on their Power Play chances again. They'll need their PK to step up. They'll need a lift from Bobrovsky. They'll need to find a way to shut down a team that is 26-5-3 since early November.

For the Jackets, after his ill-advised too many men penalty resulted from yapping at the Avs' bench, Scott Hartnell gets his second healthy scratch of the season. That will dull the Power Play a bit, but if it gets Hartnell refocused it can only help him going forward (*cough*tradevalue*cough*). We've all talked about this abstract notion of accountability. This is it in action.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(17-25-4, 38 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Josh Anderson
Rene Bourque William Karlsson Kerby Rychel
Markus Hannikainen Gregory Campbell Jared Boll
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Cody Goloubef
Justin Falk Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Washington Capitals
(34-8-3, 71 Points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)

Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky Evgeny Kuznetsov Justin Williams
Jason Chimera Marcus Johansson Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich Mike Richards Michael Latta
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Dmitri Orlov Nate Schmidt
Ryan Stanton Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer

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