GAME 37: BLUE JACKETS AT CAPITALS
VERIZON CENTER, 7 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: CD 102.5 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM
SETTING THE STAGE: On one hand, the Blue Jackets don't want to make too much of it and approach their 37th game as they approached the previous 36. But given the circumstances surrounding this one, it's kind of impossible to pass it off as just another game.
For the past week, the Blue Jackets have been chasing history. They won their 16th straight game on Tuesday night by beating the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena, and with a win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, would tie the NHL's all-time record for consecutive victories. The last team to win 17 straight was the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Blue Jackets have embraced the challenged of trying to equal and surpass that record.
While the hoopla continues to follow them around, the Blue Jackets don't want to lose sight of the fact that, despite its historical significance, this game has plenty of weight without it. This is a four-point divisional game against a team that's looking up at them in the standings, and though the Capitals have designs on ending the Blue Jackets' streak, they also want to make up ground on the Metropolitan Division leaders.
This should be another exciting and emotional game, but the Blue Jackets are drawing their emotional energy from within. They're playing for one other, they're thrilled about the successes of guys who step into larger roles (like William Karlsson did on the power play against Edmonton) and they believe in their style of play and blueprint for success. It's been a true collaborative effort to this point.
Make no mistake: the Capitals will be fired up for this one. They've dropped the first two meetings of the season series with the Blue Jackets, and felt they were wronged on a high-sticking penalty late in regulation of Columbus' 3-2 win back in November.
NOTEWORTHY NEWS: The Blue Jackets held a short, 25-minute practice at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday before departing for D.C. Don't expect coach John Tortorella to make any lineup changes. Sergei Bobrovsky, who took a rest day on Wednesday, is slated to start in goal for Columbus.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Saad - Wennberg - Foligno
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Calvert - Karlsson - Anderson
Hartnell - Sedlak - Gagner
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Murray - Nutivaara