BLUE JACKETS VS. CAPITALS
THURSDAY, 7 PM
GAME NOTES | PHOTO GALLERY
FINAL: BLUE JACKETS 5 | CAPITALS 2
WATCH: Cam Atkinson scores to make it a 5-2 hockey game!
GAME AUDIO: Cam Atkinson 3rd period goal LISTEN
WATCH: 2nd period highlights
GAME AUDIO: Cody Goloubef 2nd intermission LISTEN
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets started with a bang in the middle frame, getting a goal from Brandon Dubinsky justd 24 seconds into the period to make it a 3-0 lead. They would add to it with Johansen's second of the night - a beautiful dangle and slip inside the post - to boost the Columbus lead to 4-0 at 12:14 of the second period. The Blue Jackets have started to get more pucks to the net and test Holtby even further, and they're out-shooting Washington by a 22-12 margin so far in the game. At even strength, the Jackets are taking away time and space for the Capitals but they've got to remained disciplined and stay out of the box.
WATCH: Ryan Johansen scores his 2nd of the night, and we're up 4-0!
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen 2nd period goal LISTEN
WATCH: Brandon Dubinsky scores our 3rd goal to put us up 3-0 in the second period
GAME AUDIO: Brandon Dubinsky 2nd period goal LISTEN
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: A strong start for the Blue Jackets save for three undisciplined penalties, but their penalty kill has been strong against Washington's lethal power play to this point. It's also helped that the Capitals have quickly nullified two of those power plays with penalties of their own, and Derek MacKenzie scored shorthanded to boot. After Ryan Johansen potted his 20th of the season late in the first period, the Blue Jackets held a 2-0 lead despite only five shots against Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. They've controlled the puck and played a solid game 5-on-5...exactly what they need to do.
WATCH: Ryan Johansen's 20th of the season makes it 2-0 Columbus.
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen 1st period goal LISTEN
WATCH: Derek MacKenzie's shorthanded goal makes it 1-0 Columbus in the first period.
GAME AUDIO: Derek MacKenzie 1st period goal LISTEN
#CBJ SOCIAL CONTEST: Same rules as always....tweet us @BlueJacketsNHL with your response to the following question. We'll randomly select two winners!
Q: Who scored the second goal in the Jackets' 5-1 win over the Capitals on Jan. 17?
WATCH: Ryan Murray joined Bob, Jody & Jeff on the headset after the morning skate.
WATCH: Ryan Johansen on tonight's game and potential chemistry with two new line mates tonight.
WATCH: Nathan Horton's pre-game interview on #CBJAMSkate Live.
WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards joined the #CBJAMSkate live show to talk about tonight's game.
UPDATE (11:15 AM): Here are the Jackets' forward lines and defense pairs for tonight's game vs. the Capitals...
Foligno - Anisimov - Umberger
Jenner - Johansen - Horton
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
MacKenzie - Letestu - Tropp
Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Goloubef
UPDATE (10:20 AM): Sergei Bobrovsky is working in the starter's crease today and it looks as though he will start tonight against Washington.
UPDATE (10:15 AM): David Savard is back on the ice for today's morning skate. We don't yet know if he's back in the lineup but he's taking power play reps and is paired with up Nikita Nikitin during rushes. We'll get official word from Todd Richards afterward.
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets face yet another important divisional game as they take on the Washington Capitals tonight at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets are slated for a 10 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide, and we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. We'll also be LIVE streaming the skate on BlueJackets.com, and you can find the link on our home page. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Capitals, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets switched up their forward lines Tuesday night, getting Blake Comeau into the lineup in place of Corey Tropp (who was a healthy scratch). Whether they stick with that configuration or not remains to be seen, but we're also keeping an eye on David Savard and his recovery from illness. If Savard can play, that likely means Cody Goloubef comes out of the lineup.
After Curtis McElhinney took the net on Tuesday night against Ottawa, look for Sergei Bobrovsky to get back between the pipes tonight against Washington.
The Blue Jackets have followed an eight-game win streak with a trio of losses, but they're a) not in panic mode and b) still right in the middle of the playoff race. At this point, their focus is playing another solid game and getting back in the win column against a division opponent.
Washington, which went through a slump of its own recently, has rebounded to play better hockey and is coming off a 5-4 overtime win at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Tuesday. Mike Green scored twice, Alex Ovechkin was a difference-maker (again) and the Capitals
got their 55th and 56th points of the season to equal them with the Blue Jackets.
Just how important is tonight's game? Both teams sit on the immediate periphery (that may or may not make sense) of the playoff picture and a win could catapult either Columbus or Washington back into the driver's seat as the Olympic break nears.
The Blue Jackets could put themselves in a great spot with a win over the Capitals. They'll have one home game remaining (Saturday against Florida) before heading to California prior to the Olympics, a road trip more affectionately known as "the gauntlet" with all three California teams playing extremely well.
They'll need a game similar to the one they played less than two weeks ago against these same Capitals at Nationwide Arena
. Columbus used its four-line attack to overwhelm Washington, force the Capitals into mistakes and chase Philip Grubauer early in the second period after taking a 3-0 lead.
VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS
SATURDAY, 7 P.M.