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Blue Jackets at Jets preview

Columbus eyes fourth straight win; Winnipeg is 7-2-1 past 10 games

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (9-8-4) at JETS (13-9-1)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNW, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets look to extend their season-long winning streak to four games when they play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets have scored five goals in each of their past two games, a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and a 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. They also defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Nov. 15 to start their win streak.

Elvis Merzlikins will start for Columbus, looking for his first NHL win. The 25-year-old rookie goalie is 0-1-3 with a 3.43 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in five games (four starts) this season.

The Jets will try for an eighth win in 11 games. They are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games after losing five of the previous seven (2-5-0). Winnipeg lost 5-3 at the Dallas Stars on Thursday, ending a three-game winning streak.

 

Players to watch

Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak.

Jets forward Kyle Connor has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.

 

They said it

"We just need to keep playing our game. ... I feel like we need to keep going." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella 

"You'd like all pieces of your game to be perfect. Then you'd win every game and that would be just right." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Sonny Milano -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Emil Bemstrom

Nick Foligno -- Alexandre Texier -- Cam Atkinson

Eric Robinson -- Alexander Wennberg -- Josh Anderson

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- David Savard

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Dean Kukan

Elvis Merzlikins

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Riley Nash

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Kole Sherwood (oblique)

 

Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Patrik Laine

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Blake Wheeler -- Jack Roslovic

Andrew Copp -- Adam Lowry -- Mathieu Perreault

Joona Luoto -- David Gustafsson -- Logan Shaw

Josh Morrissey -- Tucker Poolman

Dmitry Kulikov -- Neal Pionk

Nathan Beaulieu -- Luca Sbisa

Laurent Brossoit

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Carl Dahlstrom, Michael Spacek

Injured: Mark Letestu (upper body), Mason Appleton (lower body), Bryan Little (upper body), Gabriel Bourque (lower body)

 

Status report

Columbus will use the same lines and defense pairs as Thursday. ... Sbisa left the morning skate early. The Jets plan for him to play, but will dress seven defensemen for pregame warmups, Maurice said. 

 

Stat pack

The road team is 8-3-1 in the last 12 games between the Jets and Blue Jackets. ... Dubois has five points (three goals, two assists) on a three-game point streak. ... Laine has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games, and has one goal in each of his past two games. ... The Jets are 9-2-0 in games played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday this season. They are 4-0-0 in Saturday games.

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