The Columbus Blue Jackets played arguably their best game of the season last night against the Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets were able to defeat the defending champs with a Vezina-esque performance from Sergei Bobrovsky and two power play goals. Can they rely on special teams and goaltending against the New York Rangers?
With it being a back to back, it’s likely that Joonas Korpisalo will be the starter, though Bobrovsky’s performance may have swayed the decision making. As for the special teams, neither teams units have been very special. The Jackets two-goal power play performance pulled them up to 14.5% and out of last place. The Rangers have not been much better clicking at just 19.2%. New York’s PK ranks 20th in the league at 78.2%, just ahead of Columbus who sits in 23rd at 75.9%.
Something has to give here with these special teams units.
Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson
Sedlak – Wennberg – Duclair
Foligno – Jenner – Anderson
Hannikainen – Dubinsky – Nash
Murray – Jones
Nutivaara – Savard
Werenski – Harrington
- Message Received. After being a healthy scratch against the Dallas Stars, Oliver Bjorkstrand was back in against the Capitals and made his mark early. He scored the Blue Jackets first goal, his first since October 13th. The Blue Jackets need more of that from Bjorkstrand and hopefully that can continue against the Rangers.
- New look defense. John Tortorella shook up the defensive pairs last game and with the success they had, it’s likely he keeps them the same. Ryan Murray and Seth Jones were great against Washington. They were the only defensive pair to be above a 50% Corsi at 5-on-5. Murray has been great this season and playing with Jones is a reflection of that. Murray has a chance to take his game to an even higher level.
- Third pair. With Murray bumped up, we saw Zach Werenski not on the top pair and playing reduced minutes. He’s been a staple there since he joined the team as a rookie, and now with this change to the third pairing, we'll see how he responds to that demotion. I expect him to have a strong game tonight.
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