Game 2 Preview: Blue Jackets Look to Put an Early Stranglehold on the Series Tonight in D.C.

By Paul Berthelot on April 15, 2018 at 7:05 am
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals meet in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

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The pressure is on Washington.

The Blue Jackets turned up the heat on the Capitals with their Game 1 victory and are in position to put the Capitals on the ropes with another win in Game 2.

Washington knows they let the series opener slip away and will be ready to make sure that doesn’t happen again. The Jackets need to be ready to match that intensity, and they can’t afford another slow start. The comeback in Game 1 was great, but you can't hope to win the series if you continually fall behind.

The Caps will be getting defenseman Michal Kempny back, while the Blue Jackets will most likely be without Alexander Wennberg for the game.

MATCHUP

Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals

WHERE: Capital One Arena
WHEN: Sunday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, USA Network

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Losing Alexander Wennberg is a big blow for Columbus, as he's the straw that stirs the second line. Since the beginning of March through the end of the season, Wennberg had 11 points in 17 games and led the Jackets with a 53.75% Corsi. That success carried over into Game 1 with Wennberg scoring a big goal. Nick Foligno will step up onto that line, and we will see if they can stay productive.
  • How the Capitals will go about defending Artemi Panarin? They used Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov in Game 1 to no avail. Panarin lit them up for three points and dusted Orlov on the overtime game winner. It will be interesting to see if Barry Trotz sticks with that matchup, or tries to match fire with fire and use John Carlson against Panarin.
  • The officiating. I think many were displeased with some of the calls in Game 1. Will it be more of the same in Game 2, or will the refs let some of the small stuff go? The first period will once again be critical to knowing how this game will be called.

TALE OF THE TAPE

  Series Record PP PK 5v5 Corsi
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 1–0 2–4, 50% (T-2nd) 4–6, 66.7% (13th) 52.58% (8th)
WASHINGTON CAPITALS 0–1 2–6, 33.3% (4th) 2–4, 50% (15th) 47.42% (9th)
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