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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Canadiens

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets


Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards talks about the need to manage the game better & more post-game thoughts on Jackets TV.

Nick Foligno talks about tonight's loss to Montreal, courtesy of Jackets TV.

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: If you're keeping track of shots on goal, it wasn't the best second period for the Blue Jackets. They were out-shot 15-6 in the middle frame and that total stands at 29-16 for Montreal through two periods, but if there's a bright side, the Blue Jackets have started to see some balance in their lines so far tonight. All four lines have contributed whether on the scoresheet or not, and in particular, the Letestu-MacKenzie-Comeau line has been physical and aggressive on the Canadiens' defense. Montreal scored the lone goal of the second period, a power play goal from Lars Eller that looked like the second or third great chance in a row for the Habs. Eller cashed in a loose puck seconds after McElhinney made a great save, and just like that, the Jackets' 2-0 lead had evaporated. Playing their second game in as many nights, the Jackets have to dig deep here in the third period and keep doing their thing. Montreal is going to look for any sign of fatigue, but one way for the Jackets to combat that is to keep the puck in front of them and manage their shifts and the puck.

And another fun highlight, this one from Anisimov's weird goal in the first period.

Here's the video highlight of Umberger's fourth goal of the year.

LISTEN: Nick Foligno stopped by to talk Jackets hockey with the CBJ Radio Network during the first intermission. Hear his interview by clicking HERE. 

LISTEN: Artem Anisimov scored one of the flukiest goals you'll see, but the Jackets will take it. Click HERE to hear the 2-0 goal for Columbus.

LISTEN: RJ Umberger's fourth goal of the year gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead in the first period. Click HERE to hear it again (and again, if you choose).

Entertaining first period with tons of offense, but that's a killer goal to give up late in the period. The Blue Jackets have been plagued by that recently, and the goal by Galchenyuk in the final 10 seconds is a major letdown after a really solid period by Columbus. Nonetheless, they've got to re-group in the intermission and do exactly what they did in the first period, and that's get the puck in deep, use their speed and forecheck to create chances and get the puck on the net. Budaj has let in a couple of questionable goals (one that was as close to a fluke as you can get), but as long as they keep shooting the puck, they have a better chance of getting rewarded. Shots were 14-10 Montreal in the first period, but the Jackets had the better scoring chances.

UPDATE (5:15 PM):
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards meets with the media for his pre-game talk.

UPDATE (5:10 PM):
RJ Umberger talks about tonight's game vs. the Canadiens and getting two huge points before next week's road trip.

UPDATE (4:45 PM): Some pre-game updates from Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards...

- Curtis McElhinney will start in net for the Jackets and he'll face Peter Budaj for Montreal.

- Marian Gaborik is slated to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee suffered late in Thursday's game at TD Garden, Richards said. Even though he was slumping offensively, Richards said Gaborik still posed a threat and now the Jackets need someone to step up and fill that role.

- Boone Jenner is expected to back in the lineup Sunday in Ottawa. 

- Matt Calvert experienced some soreness after practicing on Thursday, but he felt great today according to Richards and he's still on track for a return sometime next week. Both players will on the Jackets' five-game road trip to Canada which begins this weekend. 

UPDATE (3:15 PM):
What can fans expect around Nationwide Arena tonight? Here's a brief rundown.

- It's Night as the Blue Jackets take on the Canadiens. What does that mean? It means that we're teaming up with FS Ohio to put the spotlight on their CBJ coverage team. Fans will get to meet Rick Gethin, Alison Lukan, and The Dark Blue Jacket (Tom) and all three of them will be part of tonight's "Blue Jackets Live" pre-game show with Dave Maetzold, Dan Kamal and Brian Giesenschlag.

- FYI: tonight's official hashtag will be #FSOCBJ, so tag your tweets and photos with those seven characters all night long. You could end up on the Dispatch Media Center, on, or even could win some awesome prizes. 

- The Dark Blue Jacket has some more information on can read that piece by clicking HERE.

UPDATE (12:30 PM):
A couple of updates from the Montreal side of things...

- Peter Budaj, who actually has the team's best goals-against average and save percentage, will get the start in goal tonight against the Blue Jackets. He's 7-5-0 lifetime against Columbus.

- Brendan Gallagher, a finalist for last year's Calder Trophy, had the flu this morning and did not take part in the Canadiens' morning skate. He will be a game-time decision tonight.

- Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said both Brandon Prust (who has missed the team's last 10 games) and David Desharnais will return to the lineup tonight. That's a pair of big additions back to a lineup that's been missing some depth lately. 

PRE GAME: The Blue Jackets arrived back in Columbus late last night (actually, early this morning) from Boston, and they will NOT hold a morning skate on Friday. We'll have comments from coach Todd Richards at some point in the afternoon, and other fun stuff coming throughout the day. Stay tuned to Game Day Central and for the latest!

By getting Nick Foligno back in the lineup last night in Boston, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards had another option if he wanted to mix up his forward lines. He started Foligno on the fourth line with Michael Chaput and Jared Boll, and there's a chance Foligno could move around again tonight when the Blue Jackets face the Montreal Canadiens.

The Blue Jackets, in their quest to score more goals and relieve some of the pressure being placed on their defense and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, have seen flashes of goal-scoring in recent games but are looking for consistency in that regard. And to be honest, what team in this league isn't trying to solve a similar problem? Matt Calvert and Boone Jenner appear to be a couple games away from returning, so in the meantime, the Jackets have to get more out of the guys currently in their lineup.

It's not yet known whether the Jackets will split goaltending duties tonight, but that's what the Canadiens are doing. Montreal plays tonight in Columbus and tomorrow in New York, and coach Michel Therrien is going to give Carey Price the start at Madison Square Garden. 

How could we forget the last time the Blue Jackets and Canadiens got together? 

Columbus had just dropped a hard-fought 2-1 game in Detroit - a game in which they felt they deserved better - and quickly found themselves down 3-0 to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The building was roaring, the Canadiens were flying up and down the rink and Bobrovsky was under siege...but a power play goal by Boone Jenner turned things around for the Blue Jackets and gave them a huge lift.

Ryan Johansen made it a one-goal game late in the second period, and Jenner added his second of the night early in the third to bring the Jackets back to all square. It had the makings of an unforgettable comeback for the Blue Jackets, who had taken control of the game after the midway point of the second period and put the Canadiens back on their heels. But the air quickly vacated the balloon when Tomas Plekanec scored on a 55-foot worm burner that gave Montreal a 4-3 lead in the final minute of regulation time, and Columbus couldn't find another equalizer.

The Blue Jackets lost in Montreal that night and were humbled two nights later in Washington, which prompted Richards to shake things up and give Curtis McElhinney a start the next night at home. Columbus went on a three-game winning streak to get back to .500, but it's been rough sailing ever since and the Jackets find themselves looking for another big win on home ice tonight.

Montreal is seeking redemption tonight, as well, after losing in a shootout to the Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the week. The Canadiens held a high-tempo practice at their training facility in Brossard, Que. on Thursday and Therrien has emphasized the need for his team to play faster and more physical, something they did not do against Tampa. 

Budaj, who owns a career record of 7-5-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average against the Blue Jackets, said the Canadiens have to be ready to play a Columbus squad that will be desperate for points.

I’m just going to be ready. It’s a big game for us. Our last six games, we don’t really have a good record,” Budaj told the Canadiens' official website. "We need to improve. We know that we need to win. We know that we have to pick up points. Every point is huge. Columbus is a tough team to play against. They’ve got a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie (in Sergei Bobrovsky), so we’ve got to be ready.”



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