Game Preview: Blue Jackets Look to Build Off Momentum In Chicago

By Jacob Nitzberg on January 29, 2021 at 7:52 am
Oct 18, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard (58) looks to score against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at United Center.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Panthers
2-3-3 (7 points)

8:00 P.M. – FRIDAY, JAN. 29


The Blue Jackets went to a shootout for the second consecutive game on Thursday night, but the outcome was a good one this time. In the fourth round, Alexandre Texier pulled off an audacious, one-handed finish, and Elvis Merzlikins slammed the door to secure the Blue Jackets' two points.

Fresh off of that big win, they're headed to Chicago tonight to take on a depleted Blackhawks squad. Their captain, Jonathan Toews, is out indefinitely. Exciting young center Kirby Dach is also out with a broken wrist that he sustained at the World Juniors.

Despite those key losses, the Blackhawks have scratched and clawed their way to points this season. They picked up a point in Florida, swept the Red Wings in a two-game series, then suffered OT and SO losses to Nashville after starting the year 0-3.

The Blue Jackets can't afford to underestimate the Blackhawks tonight, though. Patrick Kane is still as dangerous as ever. Alex Debrincat and Dominik Kubalik have impressed so far. They've gotten excellent goaltending from Kevin Lankinen, who is 2-0-2 with a 2.18 GAA and .931 save percentage.

The Blue Jackets have also gotten good goaltending this season from Joonas Korpisalo, who will likely start tonight. Korpisalo is 1-1-2 with a 2.45 GAA and .928 save percentage.

For most of last night's game, John Tortorella didn't shuffle his lines whatsoever. In fact, there was only one 22-second shift where Foligno, Nash and Bjorkstrand played together. Besides that, every forward line stayed together, and it's safe to assume that we'll see the same lines rolled out tonight.

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

71 Nick Foligno 42 Alexandre Texier 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
25 Mikhail Grigorenko 16 Max Domi 19 Liam Foudy
38 Boone Jenner 96 Jack Roslovic 13 Cam Atkinson
50 Eric Robinson 9 Mikko Koivu 20 Riley Nash
8 Zach Werenski 3 Seth Jones
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 58 David Savard
15 Michael Del Zotto 46 Dean Kukan
Goalie Backup
70 Joonas Korpisalo 90 Elvis Merzlikins


  • KOIVU GETTING IT DONE: Mikko Koivu was signed for mostly defensive purposes, but he's registered two points in his first two games with the club, including the opening goal last night. His line has looked excellent, and if the Blue Jackets can get consistent fourth-line minutes, that'll be big down the stretch.
  • 60 MINUTES OF INTENSITY: It's a cliché, but the Blue Jackets need to find a way to put together a 60-minute game. Last night against the Panthers, these were the shot attempt totals in each period: CBJ 23-15, FLA 19-15, FLA 14-7. The Blue Jackets started strong, but fell off quickly. A complete game will be necessary tonight.
  • KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE: The Blue Jackets have points in six straight games. A regulation win would be nice, but any way that they can get two points on the second leg of a back-to-back would suffice. If they have to settle for a point, the streak still continues.

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