GAME 73: BLUE JACKETS VS. CAPITALS
VERIZON CENTER, 7:00 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM
"One day at a time" has been the Jackets' mantra all season. But Thursday might be one day that has a bit more of a spotlight on it.
After losing to Toronto 5-2 on Wednesday, the Jackets currently sit at third place in the NHL and third in the Metro Division with 100 points. Ahead of them are the Pittsburgh Penguins with a one point lead on the Jackets, and in first, the Capitals with 102 points on the season.
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The effect of the two points that can be gained Thursday will be significant for the team that takes them. A Jackets win means that they are potentially once again tied with the Capitals in the standings. It also helps their case in any potential tie-breaking scenario related to head-to-head matchups between the two teams down the road.
On the other hand, a Jackets loss puts a possible four-point gap between the two teams with just nine games left to play in the regular season, when making up ground becomes more difficult than ever.
"I think when you get the chance to go right back at it it's always good," David Savard said Wednesday. "But we have to learn from (Wednesday's loss to Toronto) and look to the future. The Capitals are playing really well so we have to find a way to get a big win tomorrow."
Video: David Savard on responding tomorrow in D.C.
Here are five things to watch for:
Goals at a premium.
The Jackets are third in the NHL in goals against per game (2.33). The Washington Capitals are one of the two teams ahead of them (2.17). Capitalizing on scoring chances will be key.
Bob in net.
Expect a rested Bobrovsky to backstop the Jackets Thursday after Korpisalo played Wednesday versus Toronto. Bobrovsky currently leads the NHL in both save percentage (.931) and total wins (39).
Time to bounce back.
The Jackets certainly weren't happy with their performance in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday. They don't want to dwell on that, but they may have a little incentive to respond with a stronger effort Thursday.
Video: Brandon Saad on dealing with bad breaks tonight
Get going right out of the gate.
Speaking of bouncing back, after Wednesday's loss Nick Foligno said he felt his team "eased our way into the game." The regular season games are starting to feel like playoff games already and there's no time to test the waters anymore in matchups where every second counts. The Jackets will need to be aggressive from the first drop of the puck.
This year we've been able to talk about a lot of opportunities for Jackets' records to be broken game in and game out. Thursday, the Jackets want to prevent the Caps from tying their franchise record for wins at home (30).