Game Preview: Allez les Vestes Bleues!

Can Columbus give Montreal its first regulation loss?

Let’s cut to the chase: Montreal is a good team. How good? Undefeated in regulation in their first 10 games, with just a single shootout loss, at Ottawa in their second game.

Good news: Carey Price is out! Bad news: Al Montoya, the backup, is 3-0-1 with a 1.47 GAA and .955 save percentage. It will be very important for the Jackets to get a lot of shots in and hope some get through. Fortunately, Les Habs have allowed 30+ shots against in 7 of their 10 games.

How can the Blue Jackets generate that sort of attack? According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,   through shorter shifts to keep everyone fresh:

Only one Blue Jackets player, third-line center William Karlsson (39 seconds per shift), has met Tortorella’s under-40 goal. But every player except one — first-line center Alexander Wennberg — is taking shorter shifts than they did last season. And Wennberg is up just slightly, from 45 seconds to 46.Defenseman Ryan Murray has cut seven seconds (49 to 42) off his average shift, and defenseman Seth Jones (52 to 47) and center Brandon Dubinsky (46 to 41) are down five seconds. Six players are down three or four seconds.That doesn’t sound like much. What’s five seconds in a 60-minute game? But a shift that’s trimmed by 10 percent can pay huge benefits later in a game.

How else can the Jackets win? Well, let’s hear our coach’s assessment of this group:

Well done.

In roster news, Columbus has recalled Sonny Milano from Cleveland, but he will not play tonight. He’s an extra forward in case one is needed on the trip to St. Louis tomorrow. No other changes to the Jackets’ lineup from Tuesday night.

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
Ryan Murray Jack Johnson
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney
Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Andrew Shaw
Alexander Radulov Alex Galchenyuk Brendan Gallagher
Paul Byron Tomas Plekanec Artturi Lehkonen
Phillip Danault Torrey Mitchell Brian Flynn
Alexei Emelin Shea Weber
Andrei Markov Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu Greg Pateryn
Al Montoya
The ever elusive Carey Price

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