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Preview: Capitals at Blue Jackets

Goalie Philipp Grubauer starts for Washington; Columbus aims to stay hot at home

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

CAPITALS (9-4-1) at BLUE JACKETS (7-4-2) 

7 p.m. ET; FS-O, CSN-DC, NHL.TV

Capitals team scope

Backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer will make his second consecutive start for the Washington Capitals, meaning Braden Holtby will play against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV). Grubauer made 33 saves in a 5-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. "The No. 1 thing for me is we left him on an island in Carolina and no teammate deserves that," coach Barry Trotz said. "He's going back in and hopefully they'll surround him and surround the island." Trotz shuffled the lines from the Carolina game with Alex Ovechkin reunited with Jay Beagle among the changes. "It's a wakeup. We know it," Beagle said. "The players know before anyone else when your games are not as tight or as good as you want it to be. I love playing with Alex. Who wouldn't, obviously? It's a matter of trying to get him the puck and creating space for him out there." The Capitals are 8-2-1 when scoring first.


Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets have won five straight at home, one shy of tying their record from Dec. 26, 2007 to Jan. 15, 2008, and March 24 to April 10, 2015. They have outscored visitors 21-6 in the past three games at Nationwide Arena. "Scoring 21 goals in three games is pretty impressive," Capitals forward Justin Williams said. "But it wasn't against us." One of the reasons for Columbus' success is the NHL's best power play, which is converting at 33.3 percent. It's been particularly lethal at home, going 10 of 19 (52.6 percent). The penalty kill fell from first in the League to 13th (83.3 percent) after the St. Louis Blues scored on four of five chances on Saturday. Columbus is 7-2-2 when scoring first and has the first goal in seven straight games. In their past three home games the Blue Jackets have scored early in the first period: Cam Atkinson at 10:56 against the Montreal Canadiens; Boone Jenner at 1:23 against the Anaheim Ducks and Sam Gagner at 2:34 against the Blues. Coach John Tortorella has cancelled morning skates for the remaining five home games in November, although players may come in on their own. 


Capitals projected lineup

Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Jay Beagle -- Andre Burakovsky

Zach Sanford -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Matt Niskanen

Dmitri Orlov -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Taylor Chorney

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Brett Connolly, Nate Schmidt

Injured: None


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 -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Jack Johnson

Markus Nutivaara -- Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Scott Harrington

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Seth Jones (foot)


Status report

Chorney was a healthy scratch the first 13 games but played 13:31 in his debut at the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and will be in the lineup for Schmidt. "He played well in Chicago," Trotz said of Chorney. "I didn't have any issues. He managed his minutes well. He managed the puck well. He managed his assignment well."  … No lineup changes are expected for the Blue Jackets.


Who's hot

Carlson has five assists in his past five games. … Johansson is tied for fourth in the League in road points (7 goals, 3 assists) and has a point in six of the Capitals' eight road games. … Gagner has six goals and seven points in his past seven games. Hartnell has four goals and 10 points in his past 12 games.

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