Game Preview: Storm Clouds Looming

A dangerous team comes to town as the Jackets look to recapture their winning form

In a quirk of NHL scheduling, 3 of the 4 games Columbus plays against Carolina come within an 11 day period in January. Tonight is the second of those three games. The first of those games, in Carolina, saw Columbus have an uncharacteristically poor second 30 minutes. The Canes played a physical style of hockey that threw the Jackets off their game. Making things worse were the last minute scratches of Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Calvert to injury.

The good news is that after missing 3 games with the flu, Bob practiced yesterday and is likely to start tonight. If not, then Joonas Korpisalo will get his third start in a row. He split the weekend Florida trip.

In other injury news, defenseman Markus Nutivaara is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Scott Harrington will fill in for him if he is unable to go. Interesting that Harrington is getting the call ahead of Dalton Prout. How much longer can the team justify keeping Prout on the roster? Will he be thrown in to a trade, or will be waived to make room for another acquisition?

Key to the Game for the Blue Jackets: put more shots on net, and work on getting more high danger shots. They have gone away from this in recent games and have suffered for it.

Another key is doing a better job of limiting the opponents’ close range shots. Look at this chart:

That’s not doing the goalies any favors.

As for Carolina, they are 5-2 in the month of January, including wins in their last 4. Now, those 4 games were all at home, where the Canes are 15-4-1. Outside of Raleigh, they are just 6-11-6. Will the road woes continue in Nationwide?

The player to watch for Carolina is Brock McGinn. The rookie forward was named the NHL Third Star of the Week and tallied 7 points in his last 3 games.

Projected Lineups

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Jeff Skinner Victor Rask Derek Ryan
Brock McGinn Jordan Stall Elias Lindholm
Sebatian Aho Teuvo Teravainen Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom Jay McClement Viktor Stalberg
Jacob Slavin Brett Pesce
Ron Hainsey Justin Faulk
Noah "Not Zach Werenski" Hanifin Matt "Lord" Tennyson
Cam Ward
Alex Nedeljkovic

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