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Preview: Blue Jackets at Canadiens

Columbus travels to Montreal for the first time this season

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL /





For the sixth time in as many games, the Blue Jackets (39-16-5) will face off against a team on the tail end of a back-to-back when they play the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The Jackets are 4-1-0 in their previous five games.

The Habs, who play the New Jersey Devils on Monday, currently sit atop the Atlantic Division but have just three wins in the last 10 games (3-6-1), scoring just 16 goals in 11 games through the month of February.


This will be the first time playing in Montreal this season for the Jackets, who feel rejuvenated after their bye week. The team won their last two games in commanding fashion scoring 12 goals while only allowing two against.

"The bye must have helped us," Oliver Bjorkstrand said. "It's good we can take a few days off and be ready to play again. It says a lot about the guys and what they did on the break."

The Jackets have had the edge on the Habs at Bell Centre (6-5-1-0), all-time (11-9-1-1) and this season (2-0-0) - including a 10-goal shutout on Nov. 4.

Video: MTL@CBJ: Blue Jackets erupt for 10 goals in win 

Here are five things to watch for:

Distributed scoring.

In the two games since the bye week, 14 different Jackets have made it onto the scoresheet, and seven different players have at least one goal. Having multiple lines that can pose an offensive threat has been one of the Jackets' calling cards all season, but having multiple lines scoring at the same time makes this team even more dangerous.

Up-Cam-ing milestone.

Speaking of scoring, after a two-goal performance against the Rangers on Sunday, Cam Atkinson is one goal away from his first career 30-goal season. He's also 9-0-9 in his last 10 road games. Atkinson currently sits tied for seventh in the league in goals scored (29).

Video: CBJ@NYR: Atkinson snipes second goal of the game

Don't allow goals against.

All teams want to prevent their opponent from scoring, but against Montreal there's added incentive to keep the goal total as low as possible. Since Jan. 4, when the Canadiens scored three or more goals they won the game. Fewer than three and Montreal can't find their way into the win column. Going into Monday's game, the Jackets had the fourth best goals against per game average in the league (2.40).

Stringing wins together.

Entering Monday's game, Montreal hasn't won two consecutive games since early January. The Blue Jackets haven't won more than two in a row since their 16-game win streak earlier this season. One team is going to get a boost from a win on Tuesday.

Don't pay the Price.

With Al Montoya scheduled to play against the Devils, expect Carey Price in net against the Jackets on Tuesday. Price currently has a .919 save percentage through 47 games played, and seems to be returning to the high level of play that helped Montreal win 13 of their first 15 games this season.


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