Game Preview: Blackhawks Come To Town As Blue Jackets Continue Homestand

By Ed Francis on February 23, 2021 at 7:05 am
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Hagel (38) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Hurricanes
9-6-4 (22 points)

7:00 P.M. – TUESDAY, FEB. 23


Tuesday begins an important week for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In the final stretch of games before fans will be allowed back into Nationwide Arena on March 2nd, the Blue Jackets will play four games in six nights; games that loom large in sorting out whether or not the club is a playoff contender.

Columbus has been impressively mundane thus far. Through 19 games, they've managed to avoid losing more than two straight - though avoiding more than two wins in a row all season, as well. 

Columbus won the series opener in the first two pairs of games against Chicago; a 2-1 win in late January and the ludicrous 6-5 victory less than two weeks ago.

This will be the Blue Jackets first time hosting the Blackhawks since December 29th, 2019; a game in which Joonas Korpisalo tore his meniscus in the shootout of a game that only went to a shootout because of an officiating error

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

29 Patrik Laine 96 Jack Roslovic 13  Cam Atkinson
38 Boone Jenner 42 Alexandre Texier 71 Nick Foligno
50 Eric Robinson 20 Riley Nash 16 Max Domi
25 Mikhail Grigorenko 11 Kevin Stenlund 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 3 Seth Jones
53 Gabriel Carlsson 58 David Savard
4 Scott Harrington 2 Andrew Peeke
Goalie Backup
70 Joonas Korpisalo 70 Matiss Kivlenieks


  • RELY ON KORPI: With Elvis Merzlikins week-to-week with an upper body injury, the Blue Jackets will need to rely on Joonas Korpisalo in a big way this week. They've got four games in six nights, and assuming that Merzlikins is not seen from this week, Korpisalo will see at least three starts over six days. The Blue Jackets play Tuesday and Thursday against Chicago in Columbus, and Saturday and Sunday in Nashville for consecutive 3:00 p.m. games. To avoid three starts in five nights and also to avoid back-to-back starts, it would seem that backup Matiss Kivlenieks would start Saturday. That means Korpisalo in net for both games this week on Chicago; he'll need to bring his best to keep Chicago at bay.
  • DISMAL DEFENSE: The Blue Jackets can lend Korpisalo a hand by cleaning up their porous defensive play, especially when it comes to limiting (or better yet, eliminating) mistakes with clearing the puck out of their own zone. Zach Werenski remains sidelined with an injury and will not play, and Michael Del Zotto was not on the ice in Monday's practice. That is a likely indication that half of the Blue Jackets blue line will be the combination of Scott Harrington, Gabriel Carlsson, and Andrew Peeke. 
  • QUICK STARTS ARE NICE, BUT...: ...they don't mean a thing if you can't play a full 60 minutes. The Blue Jackets have scored first in seven of their last eight contests, and in 14 of their 19 games this season. They're also tied with the Edmonton Oilers for the best opening period goal differential in the league, at +10. But to go with their four overtime losses, the Blue Jackets have also been tied in the third period of five of their seven regulation losses, and are amongst the worst in the league in the second period, where they're -14 in the same category. Playing 60 minutes, even with the struggles they've had, should be good enough to get two points. 

Follow 1st Ohio BatteryFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

View 4 Comments