Preview: These Teams Are On Fire

If you thought I wouldn’t go for the obvious headline then you don’t know me very well

Tonight in Nationwide Arena, two of the hottest teams in the NHL meet. The Calgary Flames come to Columbus after victories in Philadelphia and Washington, and have won 7 of their last 9 games. Their top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Micheal Ferland is especially dangerous this year.

Your Blue Jackets, meanwhile, possess a four game winning streak. They haven’t always been pretty, but those points still count in the standings. Even more important is finding ways to win with a lineup that has players missing to injury (Alexander Wennberg, Lukas Sedlak) or simply missing on the scoresheet (Nick Foligno, no points in his last 12 games). The big news in Jacketland is the return of Sedlak from the injured reserve. Last week I explained why our Czech mate was badly missed. Yesterday after practice, Torts indicated that he would not be holding “Sedsy” back in anyway. Expect him to play a key role in the penalty kill tonight.

Speaking of centers, Pierre-Luc Dubois had his best game of his young career on Monday, centering a line between Artemi Panarin and Josh Anderson. I want to see more of that line and hopefully they keep producing.

The most fascinating match-up tonight is between the woeful Columbus power play and the equally woeful Calgary penalty kill. Each one is dead last in the league. Which will break tonight? Worth noting that Calgary commits 4.4 penalties per game, while Columbus only draws an average of 2.76 power play opportunities per game.

Projected Lineups

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Tyler Motte Nick Foligno Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Jordan Schroeder Lukas Sedlak Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett Mark Jankowski Jaromir Jagr
Kris Versteeg Freddie Hamilton Troy Brouwer
T.J. Brodie Travis Hamonic
Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton
Brett Kulak Michael Stone
Mike Smith
Eddie Kack

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