BLUE JACKETS 2 | CANADIENS 3
Matt Calvert Post Game
Scott Hartnell Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
Ryan Johansen Goal
ANALYSIS: Montreal was the better team in the middle frame, at one point limiting the Blue Jackets to a single shot on goal 12 minutes in. The Blue Jackets have assisted the Canadiens by taking some untimely penalties, primarily of the obstruction variety, putting the skill-laden Montreal power play to work more often than they'd prefer. But the penalty killers have done well tonight, as has the goaltender; Sergei Bobrovsky has 21 saves through two periods and a few of them have been A+ quality, keeping his team in the lead and getting some needed whistles when they were pinned in the defensive zone. The Blue Jackets need to get back to what they were doing early in the first period: chipping pucks deep, finishing checks and creating turnovers and make Montreal play a full-ice game to generate offense.
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: The first period started much like the Blue Jackets had envisioned, getting in on the forecheck and letting the Canadiens defensemen know they'd be hunting pucks right from the get go. That mentality resulted in the opening goal, when Jeremy Morin out-worked Andrei Markov behind the net, drawing a hooking penalty on the play. Morin kept his feet moving and found Kevin Connauton at the point, and the ensuing one-timer beat Carey Price clean for a 1-0 lead at 3:31 of the first period. But the Canadiens pushed back and appeared to score the tying goal late in the period, but after a lengthy video review, the puck was determined to not have crossed the goal line and the Jackets' lead stood up after 20 minutes. Shots are 12-6 favoring Montreal.
Kevin Connauton Goal
First Period Highlights
Jeremy Morin Pre-Game
Mark Letestu Pre-Game
Todd Richards Pre-Game
UPDATE (12:05 PM): Nick Foligno has been named captain of the home team at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game! Read more here.
UPDATE (10:05 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate...
- Dalton Prout took lines rushes with Jordan Leopold. The two appear to be the healthy scratches for tonight's game.
What's up, Jackets fans?
The Blue Jackets welcome in another of the Eastern Conference's best teams tonight in the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, but are coming off back-to-back losses to Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, the latter coming in overtime off a Sidney Crosby goal. Two losses against teams of that caliber don't smudge the Habs' recent record, and they enter Nationwide Arena well-rested, and with one of the league's best players between the pipes.
Carey Price was recently named one of the goaltenders for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, and he certainly belongs there. Price has 22 wins this season and the third-best save percentage in the game amongst starting goaltenders.
As the Blue Jackets get set for Montreal, let's get you set up for tonight's contest with a few updates:
- James Wisniewski and Scott Hartnell both returned to practice on Tuesday after missing Monday's skate due to illness. Also returning to practice after maintenance days were Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson. All four are expected to be available for today's game.
- Good news for Ryan Murray, who practiced again Tuesday and is building toward a return to the lineup. He won't play tonight, but he's on the horizon.
- The Canadiens announced on Tuesday that Carey Price would start in goal tonight. The Blue Jackets are expected to go with Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes in a battle of All-Star goaltenders.
- The Canadiens have surprisingly weak power play numbers this season, ranking 27th in the league at 13.7 percent. Don't be fooled by those numbers, as the Habs have several strong individual power play performers despite their low overall numbers. Pacioretty netted 10 power play goals last season, and Subban's 23 power play points were eighth among defensemen.
- A focus for the Blue Jackets will be generating more shots on goal, something they struggled to do against a Maple Leafs team that surrenders the third-most per game in the league and an Islanders squad that was starting a goaltender with a save percentage below .870. With goals hard to come by, the Blue Jackets need to get into the game early and avoid the recent trend of being pinned in their own zone for extended shifts.
- Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen each enter the game with point streaks. Foligno's goal against the Islanders gave him points in seven straight (2-8-10) and Johansen's assist on the tally extended his streak to 10 games (6-6-12), matching his season and career highs.