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Blue Jackets at Capitals preview

Columbus seeks sixth straight win; rookie Samsonov starts in goal for Washington

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (17-14-6) at CAPITALS (26-7-5)



The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try for their sixth straight win when they play the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Friday.

Columbus, which has outscored opponents 19-8 during its season-long winning streak, is 6-0-2 in its past eight games.

Washington is 4-2-0 in its previous six games and 10-3-0 in its past 13. The Capitals, who lost 7-3 at the Boston Bruins on Monday, have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season.

Two of Washington's seven regulation losses have come against the Blue Jackets, who won 5-2 on Dec. 9 in Columbus and 3-0 on Dec. 16 in Washington.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has three points (two goals, one assist) in his past three games.


They said it

"I think they're going to be champing on the bit. We've beaten them twice in the last couple weeks, twice in a week. We're coming into their building, and I'm sure they're going to be ready to play. But we're just going to prepare like we always do and get about our business and see where we go." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"They're challenging us in terms of their desire to block shots, to take away dangerous areas. We've got to make sure that we're not on the perimeter against them. We'll try a couple different things tonight, [but] ultimately it comes down to our ability to break pucks out and execute." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Alexandre Texier -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Eric Robinson

Nick Foligno -- Boone Jenner -- Gustav Nyquist

Jakob Lilja -- Alexander Wennberg -- Kevin Stenlund

Nathan Gerbe -- Riley Nash -- Ryan MacInnis

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Dean Kukan -- Gabriel Carlsson

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: None

Injured: Scott Harrington (illness), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Emil Bemstrom (ribs), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Ryan Murray (lower body), Sonny Milano (upper body), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Andrew Peeke (finger), Cam Atkinson (lower body), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ribs, oblique)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

John Carlson -- Jonas Siegenthaler

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Christian Djoos -- Radko Gudas

Ilya Samsonov

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Travis Boyd

Injured: Michal Kempny (illness)


Status report

Columbus assistant Brad Larsen, who missed three of the previous four games for personal reasons, is back with the team. Atkinson was placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. … Gudas (illness) and Kempny are game-time decisions. The Capitals recalled Djoos from Hershey of the American Hockey League. Samsonov will start in the first of back-to-back games; Washington visits the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.


Stat pack

Korpisalo is 3-0-0 with a 1.07 goals-against average and.966 save percentage in four career games against Washington. Tortorella will pass Jacques Martin (1,294) for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL all-time games-coached list. … The Capitals are 4-1-1 in the first game of back-to-backs. Ovechkin needs one power-play goal to pass Teemu Selanne (255) for sole possession of third place on the NHL all-time list.

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