Skip to main content
game preview

Preview: Blue Jackets at Blackhawks

Columbus trying to gain in Metropolitan; Chicago can increase lead in Central

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (49-19-8) at BLACKHAWKS (49-21-7)

8:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets' 2-1 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday put them four points behind the Washington Capitals (110 points) for first place in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference. Columbus is three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for second in the division. All three teams have six games remaining. The Blue Jackets, one point ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the overall standings, host Washington on Sunday and play at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Coach John Tortorella is concerned about an offense that has scored eight goals (one an empty-netter) in the past five games. "There's no sense dissecting it anymore," he said after the game Thursday. "Our top guys have to play better." The power play has 13 goals in the past 100 chances and is 0-for-9 in the past five games. "There's guys that need to start scoring and producing at a more regular rate than we are right now," forward Nick Foligno said. The Blue Jackets landed in Chicago on Friday afternoon after a mechanical issue Thursday forced their flight to return to Raleigh. "It was something to do with a generator," president of hockey operations John Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch. "You have to follow protocol and they recommended coming back."

 

Blackhawks team scope

The Blackhawks are seven points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for first in the Central Division and the Western Conference with five games left. Chicago allowed 12 goals in losing at the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning before a 5-1 win at the Penguins on Wednesday. They are 19-4-2 in their past 25 games and have a chance to reach 50 wins for the second time in their history (Chicago had 52 victories in 2009-10 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup). A win against Columbus would match the Blackhawks' record of 107 points in 2013-14 for the second-most in a single season. Goaltender Corey Crawford will start. He is 5-1-0 in his past six home games against the Blue Jackets. Jonathan Toews needs one assist for 350 in his NHL career. Patrick Kane is three points shy of 750 in the NHL.

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Kyle Quincey

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Lauri Korpikoski, Markus Nutivaara

Injured: Ryan Murray (hand), Oliver Bjorkstrand (upper body)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Tanner Kero -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Marcus Kruger -- Marian Hossa

John Hayden -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Tomas Jurco

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya -- Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo, Andrew Desjardins, Vinnie Hinostroza

Injured: Artem Anisimov (lower body)

 

Status report

Tortorella has been switching Harrington and Nutivaara in the lineup on a regular basis, and Nutivaara played Thursday. Bjorkstrand will miss his fifth straight game. … Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday having Anisimov ready for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (which will begin a few days after the regular season ends on April 9) is the goal. Anisimov has missed the past eight games. Hinostroza was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Thursday. The lineup for the Blackhawks likely will be the same used on Wednesday.

 

Who's hot

Bobrovsky will start after he was the backup against Carolina. He is 9-0-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average, a .971 save percentage and four shutouts in March, and he leads the NHL with 41 wins. … Kane has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games. Panarin has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past 11 games.

View More