BLUE JACKETS AT CANADIENS
THURSDAY, 7:30 P.M.
BY THE NUMBERS
FINAL: JACKETS 3 | CANADIENS 2
POST GAME: Ryan Johansen - LISTEN | Mark Letestu - LISTEN | Richards - LISTEN
WATCH: Ryan Johansen's GWG!
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen steals the puck and scores a beauty in the third! | LISTEN
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Another solid period from the Jackets, who got their game going and put some pressure on the Canadiens' defense in the middle 20. For the second time in three games, we saw Jack Johnson make a great play by joining the rush and then setting up a goal; he circled the net, found Blake Comeau in the high slot, and the rebound was swept into the net by Brandon Dubinsky to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. The Jackets out-shot Montreal 13-7 in the second period but failed to convert on a 43-second two-man advantage, which was their only blemish of the period. Shots are 29-19 favoring the visitors.
WATCH: Brandon Dubinsky 2nd period goal
GAME AUDIO Brandon Dubinsky cleans up the garbage and scores in the second to put us up 2-1! | LISTEN
WATCH: Derek MacKenzie's 1st period short-handed goal.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Safe to say that the first period featured a little bit of everything, wouldn't you say? The Blue Jackets and Canadiens are tied 1-1 after 20 minutes at the Bell Centre and both goals were...one could say...unique. The Canadiens scored first, seconds after Sergei Bobrovsky came across the crease to rob a one-time attempt, but the second shot ricocheted off Jack Johnson, then Bobrovsky, and into the net. But the Jackets got it back later in the period, using a crafty set face-off play by Mark Letestu - winning the draw forward - to get Derek MacKenzie a shorthanded goal on the door step of Carey Price. Columbus out-shot Montreal 16-12 in the first period and Ryan Johansen engaged in his first NHL fight after he had seen enough of Max Pacioretty late in the period.
GAME AUDIO: Derek MacKenzie ties it up with a remarkable short-handed goal! | LISTEN
WATCH: Pre-game interviews from Nathan Horton and Jack Johnson.
INSIDE EDGE: Game day edition from Montreal!
UPDATE (12:35 PM): Todd Richards made it official this morning and said Sergei Bobrovsky starts tonight against the Canadiens.
UPDATE (11:35 AM): As expected, the Blue Jackets' defense pairs will remain unchanged tonight. Here they are...
Johnson - Prout
Tyutin - Wisniewski
Niktin - Savard
UPDATE (11:30 AM): From our crew in Montreal...here are the Blue Jackets' line combinations from this morning's skate...
Jenner - Johansen - Horton
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Foligno - Anisimov - Tropp
MacKenzie - Letestu - Comeau
- Notables: no RJ Umberger and no Jared Boll in these forward lines. We'll get an official update from Todd Richards after the skate, so don't draw any conclusions from the line combinations just yet.
UPDATE (10:45 AM): The Canadiens are wrapping up their morning skate at the Bell Centre. Carey Price will start in goal for the home team tonight, and he's played very well of late. Rene Bourque is among the scratches for Montreal.
MORNING SKATE: Bonjour! It's a game day in beautiful Montreal, where the Blue Jackets will face the Canadiens on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The team is scheduled for a 11:30 a.m. morning skate at the Bell Centre, and as always, we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Canadiens, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
More positive news on the injury front for the Blue Jackets came Wednesday, when Jared Boll was activated off injured reserve prior to an optional practice at Nationwide Arena. Richards said after practice that no decision has been made regarding Boll's status for the game in Montreal.
Expect the same six defensemen to face the Canadiens, while Richards is still contemplating a starting goaltender for Thursday's game. With a back-to-back starting in Montreal, it's plausible that both goalies could split action the next two games.
No need to remind the Blue Jackets about their last trip to the Bell Centre. Way back in October (doesn't that seem like years ago?), they found themselves down 3-0 in the second period and back on their heels as the Canadiens came at them with speed and more speed.
Once the Jackets got their feet going and got into their style of game, the tables turned a bit and they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the third period - thanks to the first two goals of Boone Jenner's NHL career.
The Canadiens took a late lead, scoring the go-ahead goal with just over a minute left in regulation, and the Jackets went home to Columbus with a bad taste in their mouths after letting two points slip away. They also dropped a shootout decision to Montreal at Nationwide Arena in November, before they departed for a five-game road trip through Canada. But both teams are in different situations than they were four months ago; the Canadiens are in the mix for the Atlantic Division's guaranteed playoff spots and the Blue Jackets are holding on to the conference's second wild card position.
It's a big game for both teams on Thursday night, but the Blue Jackets want to get back on track after a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. They were frustrated by Anton Khudobin's 46-save effort and felt the did enough to create offense, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities as the Hurricanes did.
Montreal is riding a three-game winning streak, and on Saturday night, completed a historic comeback late in the third period against Ottawa. The Canadiens trailed 4-1 with less than five minutes to play, scored three times to tie it (the 4-4 goal coming with under a second left) and won the game in overtime.
This is a stern test for the Blue Jackets as they continue a busy stretch to close out the regular season.
VS. NEW YORK RANGERS
FRIDAY, 7 P.M.