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The 5th Line Report: Jackets look to make most of short week

by Martin Poston / Columbus Blue Jackets

The new year has not exactly been kind to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

January began with Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky going back on injured reserve, after aggravating a groin injury that had already put him on IR once. Now, not even two games back, the Jackets' top netminder is once again out of action.

And it turns out that sometimes even coaches are not safe from injuries, as head coach John Tortorella broke two ribs following a collision during the Jackets' outdoor practice on Friday.

The Blue Jackets have a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the Montreal Canadiens beginning tonight at Nationwide Arena and ending on Tuesday at Bell Centre.

Following Tuesday's game, Brandon Saad flies to Nashville for the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities.

Nearly eight weeks ago, when the Jackets and Canadiens first met, they were two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Canadiens had just lost their Now. 1 goaltender Carey Price, but Mike Condon was holding down the fort and the Canadiens were still at the top of the NHL standings.

Fast forward to present day, three different goaltenders have suited up for the Habs, and Montreal has fallen to fourth in the Eastern Conference wild card standings, on the outside looking in. And that is with Carey Price still on the shelf for another two weeks or more.

The Canadiens have had to lean on their supporting cast for the past couple of weeks, as their top scorers have been sporadic on the scoresheet.

David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann are carrying some momentum into this week, but the Jackets can't lose sight of guys like captain Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk.

After this pair of match-ups, the Blue Jackets will get some rest and a chance to heal, as the All-Star festivities will keep the hockey world's attention this week.

When the Jackets return to action, they will embark on the annual Western Canada road trip, so tonight is your last chance to see the Jackets at home for about two weeks.

See you at Nationwide, 5th Line.

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