BLUE JACKETS (27-5-4) at CAPITALS (23-9-5)
7 p.m. ET; FS-O, CSN-DC, NHL.TV
Blue Jackets team scope
The Columbus Blue Jackets are one win from their 17th consecutive victory, which would tie the longest winning streak in NHL history, set by the Pittsburgh Penguins from March 9 to April 10, 1993. Columbus, which holds the League's best record and goal differential (plus-52), hasn't lost since a 2-1 shootout defeat at the Florida Panthers on Nov. 26, and hasn't lost in regulation since a 2-0 defeat at the Calgary Flames on Nov. 23. The Blue Jackets have won eight straight on the road and have outscored the opposition 62-27 during their winning streak. "It's a tough rink to play in, it always is," coach John Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday of playing at Verizon Center. "I'm sure there is going to be talk because it's very well broadcast where we are right now. That's a really good team." Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start and play in his 300th NHL game. He has won 14 straight games, the second-longest winning streak by a goaltender in NHL history. Gilles Gilbert of the Boston Bruins won 17 consecutive games in 1975-76.
Capitals team scope
The Washington Capitals have won their past three games, are 10-2-2 in their past 14 games and are 14-5-1 at home this season. The Capitals have been keeping track of Columbus' streak and hope they are the ones who can end it. Washington was keeping tabs during the Blue Jackets' 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, following their 6-5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. "If anyone says they weren't [paying attention], they're lying," defenseman Brooks Orpik told the Washington Post, "because we had it on in the changing room." Coach Barry Trotz isn't expecting to have to give the Capitals a pep talk before the game Thursday. "I think when guys recognize the games are a certain level of competition or whatever, they respond," Trotz said after Washington's optional morning skate. "There's not a lot of motivation that is needed. But I think they recognize Columbus is obviously the class of the league right now. So they're coming into our building and we'll give them a good match." Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to start. Captain Alex Ovechkin needs one goal for the 544th of his NHL career, which would tie Hall of Famer Maurice Richard for 29th place on the all-time list.
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
Markus Nutivaara -- Ryan Murray
Scratched: Scott Harrington, Dalton Prout, Markus Hannikainen
Injured: David Clarkson (lower body)
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly
Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt
Scratched: Taylor Chorney
Schmidt will replace Chorney in the Capitals lineup after he was a healthy scratch for the past two games. … The Blue Jackets did not hold a morning skate.
Atkinson has three goals in his past two games, and has 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games. … Foligno has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in a six-game point streak. … Wennberg has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a six-game point streak and has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games. … Saad has eight points (three goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. … Jones has four points (two goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak. … Williams has six points (two goals, four assists) in a three-game point streak and has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his past 14 games. … Ovechkin has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past six games. … Oshie has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak.