Game Preview: Brink of History

Columbus can tie an NHL record with a 17th straight win tonight

First, an indulgent musical interlude:

Coach Tortorella addresses the team in the locker room just before gametime:

You wait, Blue Jackets
On the world’s stage
For fate to turn the goal light on
Your season, Blue Jackets
Is an empty page
That Ryan Lambert will want to write on

You’ve won 16 going on 17
Jackets it’s time to think
Better beware
Be canny and careful
Boys, you’re on the brink
You’ve won 16 going on 17
Fellas, fall into line
You’re eager young lads
You’re scoring goals in scads
From the first to the fourth lines
Totally unprepared were you
To face this league of men
Timid and shy and scared were you
Losing 8 games out of 10
You needed someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
Wanna win 17 or 18?
I’ll take care of you

Captain Foligno steps up and responds to his coach and team

We’ve won 16 going on 17
Some thought we were naive
Teams we meet thought we could be beat
And that’s what we used to believe
We’ve won 16 going on 17
Ready to face these chaps
The lines are etched in
So let’s stomp Ovechkin
And all of the rest of the Caps
Totally prepared are we
To face this league of men
No longer timid and shy and scared are we
We’ve won 7 games out of ev’ry 10
We needed someone older and wiser
Telling us what to do
We’ll win 17 and then 18
And credit is owed to you

Now, as to the game itself:

After playing only 5 games against the Metro in the first three months (and going 5-0, natch), the Blue Jackets now being a stretch of 4 straight within the division. This entire division is red hot, so these “4 point” games are critical. Washington is the only divisional rival we’ve faced twice. Both games were decided by one goal, so this will not be easy.

Adding to the challenge is that the Blue Jackets are able to make history tonight. The record for most consecutive wins by an NHL team is 17, set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins. Columbus alone holds the second place position with the 16th win that they earned Tuesday night against Edmonton. Each opponent over the last week has wanted to be the team to snap this win streak. Washington was already scoreboard-watching:

"As soon as our game was over (Tuesday) night, guys were checking to see if they won or not. We had it on," said Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik, who will try to slow down the surging Blue Jackets on Thursday. "If anyone says they weren't (paying attention) they're lying because we had it on in the change room."

One final tidbit, from our SBN colleagues at Japers’ Rink:

This is going to be fun. This is fun.

Projected Lineups

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney
Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson Evgeny Kuznetsov Justin Williams
Brett Connolly Lars Eller Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik Jay Beagle Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer

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