The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Colorado Avalanche in second of their back-to-back games at Nationwide Arena. Last night, they shutout the Detroit Red Wings and will look to pick up another victory tonight.
20–16–6 (66 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7 P.M. – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
Colorado currently holds onto second place in the Central Division, but the Central is tight this season and anything could happen as we head down the stretch. So, the Avalanche are not going to come into tonight's game complacent with their playoff spot. This has shown in their last two games where they have a goal differential of +8.
Columbus is in the same boat as the Avalanche in the Metro and Wild Card race. The Jackets have been oscillating between the third in the Metro - their current seed - and the first spot in the Wild Card, but have played more games that a couple of the teams around them, which means that they cannot afford to lose any points either.
Expect this to be a tough, fast-paced match-up between two teams trying to keep their edge in the playoff race.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
- BACK-TO-BACK. Back-to-backs are tough on the legs and tough on the mind as there is no real rest for the player, but the energy they generate can be fantastic for the club. The main focus will be to start fast out of the gate, then ride that energy until the end because if they start slow, they may not be able to catch up.
- KIVLENIEKS OR MERZLIKINS. Expect to see Kivlenkins in net due to the back-to-back games and the fact that he has performed admirably in net when Tortorella has given Merzlikins a break. Merzlikins is a goalie who can be counted on playing back-to-back games though as he seems to never tire.
- OFFENSIVE SUPPORT. If the Blue Jackets learned anything against the Panthers it is that they have a goaltender who can step up in tight games to swing the momentum and shut the other team down. Regardless, the club needs to provide him with more offensive support because they cannot win every game 1-0.