The Blue Jackets haven't played since Friday night, a 3-2 OT win over the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena. It was a victory that came accompanied by a complimentary exhale felt throughout the building, for the Jackets sorely needed it.
11–5–4 (26 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7 P.M. – TUESDAY, NOV. 19
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
A win is a win, no doubt, but in order to get back in the race, they need a few more.
So far in 2019-20, that's been the struggle for these Blue Jackets: they haven't shown the ability to string wins together and to go on a run, which is how teams further down the ladder make a move – especially at this time of year when the standings start to separate the contenders and the stragglers.
They have but three regulation wins through their first 19 games, and with 25% of the season nearly complete, it's now or never for the Blue Jackets to get going. Tonight, they'll face a Montreal Canadiens team that got the better of them a week ago at Bell Centre, in a game where Columbus fell apart late after taking a 2-1 lead and eventually lost in a shootout.
It bears repeating because it can't be overstated: while they've only played 19 games, time is running out for the Blue Jackets to get back in this thing. At 7-8-4, they're closer to the bottom of the division than they are to the wild card race, and only a significant run of wins and points will vault them into the conversation.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets, which are always subject to change (they ended Friday's game in this arrangement):
- Get on the attack. The Canadiens are hurting, announced earlier this week that they'll be without Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron due to injuries that will require surgery. The Blue Jackets and these bizarro-world forward lines will need to play with speed and forecheck early in an attempt to wear down the Montreal defense.
- Stay disciplined. When you know you need wins and points, it's hard not to press and try to do too much. The Blue Jackets are a better team when they're at 5-on-5 and they're playing as a unit. They'll need to keep the game this way.
- Build. One win is great, two is better, and you go from there. The Blue Jackets can't climb out of this bunker overnight, but all they can do is tackle one game at a time (credit to the Cliche Library for that one).