Game Preview #70 - Il s'agit de devenir fou!

The Jackets have had a day to get over their tough loss on Tuesday. They now kick off a crazy run to finish the season, including FIVE back-to-backs. It's about to get crazy.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens

March 20, 2014 - 7:30pm EDT
Bell Centre - Montreal, Quebec
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Eyes On The Prize
SBN's Canadiens vs Blue Jackets Coverage

First and foremost, my apologies for no Metro Update this morning. There was only one game the affected the Jackets' playoff position, and it wasn't a direct impact, so I elected to skip it having a busy morning today.

At any rate, none of that much matters. The Jackets are hanging on to that last Wild Card playoff spot, and their schedule is about to get straight up crazy. Including the Dallas make up game, they will play 13 games in 24 days, and of those 13 games, 10 of them will be part of back-to-backs.


It starts tonight, as Columbus travels to Montreal to face a Habs team that looks like it's righting the ship after missing Carey Price for a stretch after the Olympics and also losing four of five before coming back to win three in a row, including a big win Tuesday night against a very good Colorado team. Columbus will have their hands full, and if it was rough to see them get shut down by Anton Khudobin the other night, Carey Price can bring that same kind of funk to the game tonight as well. It should be noted, however, that Price won his last two starts despite saving just 88.7% of his shots.

The Jackets offense, however, has gone cold of late, with just 11 non-shootout goals in their last six games. This is a concern, since the Jackets have been getting it done by scoring a lot of timely goals of late. They can ill afford to see the offense leave them again tonight, as frankly, the Candiens' offense is very hot: they've scored 13 goals during their three game winning streak.

For the Jackets, the defense looks the same as on Tuesday night, but the forward lines get tweaked just a bit, with the return of Cam Atkinson to the lineup and the healthy scratch of R.J. Umberger. Not sure why Umby gets the scratch, but it should help the offense to have Cam back against a Montreal team that's more speed and wide-open play as opposed to the physical grinding style that doesn't favor Atkinson.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(35-27-6, 76 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Nathan Horton
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Artem Anisimov Corey Tropp
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Blake Comeau
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Montreal Canadiens
(38-25-7, 83 Points; 3rd Division, 4th Conference)

Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Thomas Vanek
Danny Briere Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk Lars Eller Brian Gionta
Travis Moen Ryan White Dale Weise
Andrei Markov Alexei Emelin
Francis Bouillon P.K. Subban
Mike Weaver Jarred Tinordi
Carey Price
Peter Budaj

Season Series

10/17/13 - Columbus 3 at Montreal 5
11/15/13 - Montreal 3 at Columbus 2 (SO)
03/20/14 - Columbus at Montreal

Head to Head Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.50 (20) GPG 2.81 (10)
2.49 (9) GAPG 2.72 (16)
18.8% (13) PP% 18.1% (16)
85.3% (4) PK% 81.9% (16)
Max Pacioretty, 30 G leader Ryan Johansen, 26
P.K. Subban, 38 A leader James Wisniewski, 33
P.K. Subban, 48 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 51
Brandon Prust,121 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 94
20-11-5 Home/Road 16-15-3
3/18 vs. Colorado, W 6-3 Last Game 3/18 vs. Carolina, L 3-1
6-4-0 Last 10 6-3-1

Game Notes

Rather than a bulleted list, I'll just say this: this Jackets team isn't playing "badly" per se. They need to finish their chances. It won't be easy against a tough goalie who's playing well. They also need to continue to improve the sloppiness in their own zone. Montreal can punish them if they're bad in their own zone again. I feel like the Jackets *can* win this game, but they're going to have to play like they did in the first period against Detroit, and yet bury those chances. An 18-shot period with no goals just isn't going to cut it.

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