8–28–7 (23 points; .267%)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7:00 P.M. – SUNDAY, JANUARY 30
MONTREAL, QC, CAN
BALLY SPORTS OHIO
ESPN+ (Out of Market)
The Columbus Blue Jackets have not won consecutive games since winning the last of three straight the day after Thanksgiving.
Sunday brings their best chance in a while to change that, when the Blue Jackets go north of the border for a battle against the worst team in the league, the Montreal Canadiens.
A year after appearing in the Stanley Cup finals, the Canadiens have fallen off the wagon, the face of the earth, and the edge of a cliff all in one. They've won just eight times in 43 games and are on pace for 44 points this season. Only two teams had fewer than that last season, and that was in a 56 game schedule. The record for fewest points in the three-point game era was 48, by the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche.
In other words, Montreal is really bad this year.
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have been wildly inconsistent this season and have gone 23 straight games without putting together consecutive wins. A victory Sunday would break that streak and put Columbus within one game of .500. A loss would extend the streak at 24, which would match the number of games they went without back-to-back wins to close out last season. It would also match the Blue Jackets longest regular season streak since the 2011-12 season.
|PACES & PROJECTIONS|
|43.6%||MONEYPUCK'S ODDS TO WIN||56.4%|
|47.0%||THE 538'S ODDS TO WIN||53.0%|
|79.0||EVOLVING HOCKEY'S POINT PROJ.||63.1|
|78.0||82-GAME POINT PACE||43.9|
Usually, even the worst team in the NHL doesn't rank last in goals per game and goals against per game, but here we are. Montreal's 2.21 goals per game ranks 32nd, and their 3.79 goals against is also 32nd. It gets worse: the Montreal power play ranks 31st; the penalty kill 30th.
Most recently, Montreal has lost four in a row — including a 7-2 loss at home to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The seven goals allowed brought the total number of goals the Canadiens have allowed in their last three games to a whopping 20.
One bright spot? Young center Nick Suzuki, who has a team-leading 24 points and is on pace for a near 50-point season. His eight goals is one behind the team lead, with former Blue Jacket Josh Anderson leading the way with nine. Tyler Toffoli, Christian Dvorak, and Mike Hoffman all are just two back, with seven each.
A RARE POWER PLAY SIGHTING
The Blue Jackets connected on the power play Thursday, with Boone Jenner scoring his 17th (goal 18 would come later in the night) on assists from Zach Werenski and Oliver Bjorkstrand. There's still a lot of work to do, but the power play has at least shown a little bit of life since getting the band (Jenner, Werenski, Bjorkstrand, Patrik Laine, and Jakub Voracek) back together.
LIFE WITHOUT TEX
Alexandre Texier had a line of 11g-9a-20p in 36 games before fracturing a finger in Wednesday's absurd loss to the Calgary Flames. Texier will be out for about a month, a big blow to the young Frenchman in the midst of a breakout season. Columbus picked up a win in their first game without Tex when they defeated the New York Rangers 5-3 Thursday, but he'll certainly be missed over the next number of weeks.
BEAN'S BEEN BAD
Jake Bean has not been good in recent games, picking up sloppy penalties and getting outworked for loose pucks on multiple occasions. Two minors in the third period Thursday almost cost the Blue Jackets, but outstanding play from Joonas Korpisalo preserved the Columbus lead. Bean's average ice time in the last three games has been just 16:43, the lowest three-game rolling average of his tenure in Columbus. There's work to do with Bean, who is still just 23 and has less than 100 games under his NHL belt.
|29||Patrik Laine||38||Boone Jenner||14||Gus Nyquist|
|93||Jakuv Voracek||34||Cole Sillinger||28||Oliver Bjorkstrand|
|16||Max Domi||96||Jack Roslovic||52||Emil Bemstrom|
|50||Eric Robinson||7||Sean Kuraly||59||Yegor Chinakhov|
|8||Zach Werenski||2||Andrew Peeke|
|22||Jake Bean||27||Adam Boqvist|
|44||Vladislav Gavrikov||5||Gavin Bayreuther|
|70||Joonas Korpisalo||90||Elvis Merzlikins|
*SUBJECT TO CHANGE