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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Capitals

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

WATCH: FOX Sports Ohio

NEW: "On The Road" with Bob & Jody


Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll, who scored a big goal in tonight's game, talks about the Jackets' need to "sharpen up" late in games.

Todd Richards addresses the media after what he termed as a "deflating" loss to the Capitals.

Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray talks about tonight's 4-3 overtime loss in Washington.

Here's the video of that siiiiiick Atkinson goal:

CAMSANITY, BABY! What a gorgeous goal by Cam Atkinson to give the Jackets a 3-2 lead late in the third period. Listen to the call HERE.

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: This has been a fairly even game but the Blue Jackets are beginning to flirt with some penalty trouble, which isn't what you want to do against the NHL's top power play. The good news is that it's a 1-1 tie at Verizon Center, with goals coming from Brandon Dubinsky (shorthanded) and John Carlson in the middle stanza, but it was Dubinsky's great effort on the forecheck that opened the scoring. Troy Brouwer appeared to quit on a loose puck behind the Caps' net, and Dubinsky pounced on the mistake. He walked out from below the goal line, put one quick move on Holtby and slid it home on the backhand. But the Caps had an answer, and it was a play off the rush started by (you guessed it) Martin Erat, who picked up his 57th point in almost 59 career games against Columbus. That's where we stand after 40 minutes - the Blue Jackets have played a solid road game to this point, but need 20 more minutes (and a goal or two) to lock up two points tonight.

WATCH: Here's the video evidence supporting that tremendous goal by Dubinsky...

A tremendous effort (shorthanded) gave the Jackets a 1-0 lead in the second period. Listen to the call by clicking HERE.

The Blue Jackets needed a solid road period like that. After 20 minutes at the Verizon Center (or, The Phone Booth if you ask the locals), we're scoreless between the Jackets and Capitals and shots on goal favor Columbus by a 12-7 margin. And one of the positives for the Blue Jackets is that they played a defensively sound and disciplined opening period - exactly what they had to do against a Capitals team that likes to get-up-and-go on home ice. Save for a few unforced errors in their own zone, the Blue Jackets were fairly clean in the first period and didn't spend a lot of time in their own zone. The question mark is Derek MacKenzie, who left the game midway through the first and has yet to a result, the lines have been shuffled and there's not much consistency in that regard right now.

#CBJ SOCIAL CONTEST: A bit of a twist on today's game day contest - but we think you'll like it. There's still a trivia question, but since we're on the road, we didn't bring the Social Station with us. So we have a copy of EA Sports NHL 14 to give away - here's how you win...

Tweet us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial with your answer to the following question: Alex Ovechkin scored twice in his NHL debut (against Columbus), but a Blue Jackets player also scored two goals in that same game...who was that CBJ player?

UPDATE (4:00 PM): In case you were wondering "hey, where's the Jack Johnson video interview?" we're here to happily answer that question.

UPDATE (2:30 PM):
Jack Johnson sat down to talk about tonight's game with Bob McElligott and members of the media. Listen to his pre-game interview by clicking HERE.

UPDATE (1:45 PM): Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards held his pre-game meeting with the media following the morning skate. Here's video from today's scrum with the coach...

UPDATE (1:30 PM):
Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu chatted with Bob McElligott about tonight's game and sustaining their offensive success. Watch the video here...

UPDATE (12:45 PM):
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards shared his thoughts on this divisional matchup against Washington this morning. Click HERE to listen.

UPDATE (12:40 PM): Blake Comeau spoke to the media prior to tonight's game. Listen to his comments after the morning skate in DC. Click HERE.

UPDATE (12:30 PM): Further lineup update...David Savard is confirmed as the healthy scratch on defense. It was originally thought that he would draw in for Prout, but he was taking some extra time after the skate. Here are the pairs...

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Prout

UPDATE (12:15 PM): Quick digression from our game day routine here...but this is too cool not to share. If you haven't heard of the FS Ohio Fan Express bus, you'll want to check out this video. It's literally the coolest way to bring your group to a Jackets game. Seriously. 

UDPATE (12:00 PM):
According to our Jeff Rimer, Savard will go into the lineup in place of Prout tonight.

UPDATE (11:44 AM): The one lineup item we're waiting for is on defense...the Blue Jackets have to make a decision between Dalton Prout (who has played well in his last few appearances) and David Savard on the back end tonight. Whoever draws in will pair with Nikita Nikitin.

UPDATE (11:40 AM): Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal tonight for Columbus, marking his second start against the Caps this season. In his career, Bobrovsky is 1-1-1 against Washington.

UPDATE (11:35 AM): From the morning skate...the Blue Jackets will go with the same lineup as they did Saturday against the Islanders. That means the forward lines mentioned below are what they'll start the game with tonight, and the defense pairs (at least top four) are locked in.

UPDATE (11:20 AM): Morning skate = underway.

UPDATE (11:05 AM):
Here are some interesting nuggets to digest prior to the Jackets' morning skate...

- Olie Kolzig, who was regularly a winning netminder for Rob Mixer in NHL 98, is the Capitals goaltending coach.

- In 58 career games against the Blue Jackets (most of those with Nashville), Martin Erat has recorded 56 points - that's a total of 16 goals and 40 assists. Erat had three assists in the Capitals' 4-1 win over Columbus back on Oct. 19, because of course he did.

- Braden Holtby, tonight's starter for the Capitals, is 7-3-0 in his last 10 starts and has made 30+ saves in four straight games.

- Three current Blue Jackets saw their favorite players from childhood inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last night (they weren't actually in Toronto, but they might have watched): Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski's idol, Chris Chelios, was inducted in the player category as was Scott Niedermayer, hockey idol of Ryan Murray.

-  The Blue Jackets are 88-84-28 all-time vs. Eastern Conference opponents. 

- Columbus is 3-of-12 (25 percent) on the power play and 10-for-11 (90.9 percent) on the penalty kill in its last four games.

UPDATE (10:45 AM): An update from the Capitals morning skate - it appears as though Braden Holtby will start in goal for Washington tonight, this according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.

UPDATE (9:50 AM):
With the morning skate about 90 minutes away, let's take a look at the projected forward lines and defense pairings for tonight's game in Washington (these combos were used in Saturday's win over the Islanders)...

Dubinsky - Johansen - Atkinson
Umberger - Anisimov - Gaborik
MacKenzie - Letestu - Comeau
Collins - Chaput - Boll

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Prout

The Blue Jackets will take their morning skate at approximately 11:30AM in Washington on Tuesday, shortly after the Capitals finish up their pre-game tune-up. Rob Mixer and the rest of the crew will have all your latest news, notes and updates as they happen right here at Game Day Central. Stay tuned!

The Blue Jackets found something to jump-start their offense on Saturday when coach Todd Richards re-assembled his top six forwards into some interesting new combinations. Brandon Dubinsky shifted to left wing on a line with Ryan Johansen and Cam Atkinson, and that trio combined for seven points (three goals, four assists) in the Jackets' 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. On the second unit, RJ Umberger played the left side with Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, and that line had some sustained time in the offensive zone, as well.

At this point, it appears likely that the Blue Jackets will use those same combinations when they take on division rival Washington at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. It's the second meeting of the season between the two clubs, and the Capitals are playing their first game back at home after a two-game swing out west.

Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal for Columbus, while the Capitals have a decision to make between Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.

Now that the Blue Jackets have shed the burden of a five-game losing streak, it's time to string some wins together and continue to climb in the Metropolitan Division.

The good news for Columbus is that, while playing poorly hasn't been part of their plan the past couple of weeks, they're still within reach in the division and no team aside from the Pittsburgh Penguins has really separated itself from the pack. 

And with seven of their next eight games on the road (which follows a stretch of eight of nine at home), the Blue Jackets want to start this next segment of their schedule on a positive note, and perhaps, exact a little revenge on the Capitals, who handed them a rather one-sided defeat back on Oct. 19 at the Verizon Center.

It won't be easy, though - the Capitals have won four straight on home ice and play some of their best hockey in their own rink, where they really push the pace and play an uptempo style that some opponents can't handle. 

Washington is coming off a tough two-game road trip out west that didn't treat them very well; the Capitals held a 3-1 lead in the final minutes of regulation on Saturday night in Phoenix, but the Coyotes scored twice to tie it and went on to win the game in a shootout. The following night, the Capitals were out-worked and out-skated by the red-hot Avalanche, who led throughout and never let the Capitals within striking distance after the first half of the game.

To keep pace in this one, the Blue Jackets are going to need the same level of compete on the offensive side of the puck that they got on Saturday night. Richards was fairly critical of his team after Monday's practice, as he was asked whether their net presence was consistent enough to score more goals. He said he liked their traffic around the net, but as a whole, said the Blue Jackets don't shoot the puck well enough or efficiently enough to produce better offensive numbers. Whether shots are getting blocked at the net, in the slot or wherever, the Blue Jackets aren't getting enough pucks through to the net and it's hurting them in the scoring department.

In a nutshell, Richards wants the Blue Jackets to play much simpler with the puck in the scoring areas. A good reference point was RJ Umberger's power play goal early in the third period on Saturday; James Wisniewski was first to a loose puck on the right wall, and sent a quick wrist shot to the net which Umberger deflected past Evgeni Nabokov.

Sometimes, the old K.I.S.S. approach is the best approach, and it gave the Blue Jackets some success in their most recent victory.




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