Here, you'll get everything you need to know – including keys to the game, where to watch and listen, and more – before the Blue Jackets and Capitals meet for the second time this season.
The Blue Jackets have not fared well on their road trip thus far. Since leaving the friendly confines of Nationwide Arena, they've dropped three in a row and are now a point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Last time out, the Blue Jackets turned in a pretty good first period in Dallas, but the Stars took it to them in the final 40 minutes, spoiling a 34-save performance from Daniil Tarasov in his NHL debut.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (12-9-0) vs. Capitals (14-4-6)
WHERE: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 97.1 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
It's certainly been a road trip.
The Blue Jackets have lost their first three games on the four-game trip by a combined score of 15-5. You don't need a degree in rocket science to understand that tonight's game against the Capitals is critical for the club to regain some momentum. However, it'll be anything but easy against a high-powered Washington team.
Alexander Ovechkin, the ageless wonder, is somehow putting up video game numbers in his age-36 season. In 24 games, the Russian winger has tallied 19-19-38 while leading the Capitals to the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov is also enjoying a fine season, with 8-20-28 in 24 games.
It'll be Tarasov (0-1-0) in net tonight for the Blue Jackets, and the Capitals are going with Ilya Samsonov (9-1-1). Samsonov has been lights out for the Capitals this year. He's lost just once in regulation, and sports a 2.52 GAA to go with a .915 save percentage.
ALL-TIME: It's not pretty. The Blue Jackets are 19-30-1 against the Capitals in the club's history, and the Capitals currently have a two-game win streak in the rivalry. In Washington, the Blue Jackets are 9-14-1.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- Play A Full Game: The Blue Jackets were outworked in their first two games of the road trip, but things seemed to be trending upward after a solid first period in Dallas. The Stars controlled the next 40 minutes, giving the Blue Jackets their third loss in a row. In order for the Blue Jackets to keep up with the Capitals tonight, it has to be a consistent effort over 60 minutes.
- Contain #8: It's easy enough to write it, but it's a whole different thing to contain Ovechkin on the ice. The Blue Jackets have to be mindful of where he is at all times, especially on the power play. As the all-time great sets his sight on Wayne Gretzky's goals record, the Blue Jackets need to do everything in their power to make sure he doesn't make progress tonight.
- Have Tarasov's Back: Tarasov was rushed into a start against Dallas on Thursday, and he performed quite admirably, given the circumstances. Tonight is a tougher task, as the Capitals possess more offensive talent than the Stars. The Blue Jackets need to help Tarasov by clearing the puck effectively, communicating on defensive-zone assignments, and challenging for every 50/50 puck.
From the head coach...