11–9–1 (23 points; .548%)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8 P.M. – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30
BALLY SPORTS OHIO
In the midst of their longest road trip to date this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in Nashville for a Tuesday clash with the Predators.
The effort will need to be better than it was Saturday, when the Blue Jackets gave up six goals — all at even strength — to the St. Louis Blues.
Columbus has lost consecutive games just one time this season, losing back-to-back games on back-to-back nights against back-to-back Metropolitan rivals. The Blue Jackets have responded, scoring more than four goals per game on average in the seven games since the consecutive losses. They'll look to keep up the scoring — while limiting scoring chances — Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
|38.7%||MONEYPUCK'S ODDS TO WIN||61.3%|
|39.0%||THE 538'S ODDS TO WIN||61.0%|
|103.6||82 GAME POINT PACE||89.8|
Know The Foe
The Predators are an interesting team. They're ranked 22nd in goals scored and, at 20th, not much better in goals allowed. They're 25th in the league in the penalty kill, and a bottom five team in shots per game. Just once this season have they scored more than four goals in a game — something that the Blue Jackets have done five times, and in two fewer games.
But at 11-9-1, they have a winning record. There are two primary reasons for this: the sixth-ranked power play, which is converting at a clip of 25%, and the outstanding play of goaltender Juuse Saros. While it hasn't been quite as good as the season being had by Columbus' Elviz Merzlikins, the 26-year-old has been in the same ballpark through the first quarter of the season. His 2.50 goals against average is less than a tenth higher than Merzlikins (2.41), and the save percentages (.929 for Merzlikins, .918 for Saros) have been comparable, as well.
That sixth-ranked power play has been by a couple of 31-year-olds. One is Roman Josi, who has four goals and six assists on the man-advantage this year. It makes up half of the 20 points the Nashville captain has to date, and he anchors the Predators top power play admirably.
The other? Here's a trip down memory way: Matt Duchene, the former Blue Jacket whose brief stint in Columbus helped the Blue Jackets advance to the second round during the 2018-19 season. Duchene is having a career year, with 22 points (seven of which have come on the power play) in 21 games. He's on pace to score 50 goals this season, which would shatter his record of 31.
A POROUS DEFENSE
The Blue Jackets defense looked lost at times in Saturday's loss to the Blues. But consider this: in 19 games this season, Columbus has had a higher expected goals against average six times. It's an indicator that the Blue Jackets goalies are bailing out the defense. Joonas Korpisalo in the second period of Saturday's loss is a good example; he gave up three goals in the frame, but two were on defensive blunders and the Blues could have made it a five or six goal period without his strong play. The offense seems to be there for this team, but the defense has work to do. That work starts Tuesday in Nashville.
POWER PLAY PUNCH
Columbus scored two goals up a man in the loss Saturday; the third time this season they've scored multiple power play goals. That's something they didn't accomplish last season, when they connected on the man-up more than once in a game just twice in 56 games. It's just another number that shows the Blue Jackets have an improved special teams unit, and one that can put Columbus in good position to win — if the defense can do their part.
Just once in his career has Boone Jenner scored more than 18 goals in a season, a fact that is certain to change if the Columbus captain can stay healthy. Jenner is at ten goals this season, and having his best season offensively since netting 30 goals in the 2015-16 season. The team is 6-3 in games when Jenner scores, but a perfect 4-0 when Jenner scores at even strength. Look for Boone to keep it going in Nashville.
LW C RW 59 Yegor Chinakhov 34 Cole Sillinger 93 Jakub Voracek 14 Gustav Nyquist 38 Boone Jenner 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 15 Gregory Hofmann 96 Jack Roslovic 16 Max Domi 50 Eric Robinson 7 Sean Kuraly 42 Alexandre Texier LD RD 8 Zach Werenski 22 Jake Bean 44 Vladislav Gavrikov 2 Andrew Peeke 5 Gavin Bayreuther 27 Adam Boqvist Starting Goalie Backup 90 Elvis Merzlikins 70 Joonas Korpisalo
*subject to change