Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals

Friday, 10.18.2013 / 2:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com



BLUE JACKETS (2-4-0) at CAPITALS (2-5-0)
SATURDAY, 7 PM | VERIZON CENTER




The Blue Jackets arrived in the nation's capital very early Friday morning after a frustrating 5-3 loss in Montreal, and took an optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in suburban Arlington, Va. later that day. Good news for the Blue Jackets: flu-stricken Marian Gaborik, who missed the game against Montreal, was back on the ice for practice and is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Capitals. 

And while nothing is set in stone, the Blue Jackets could turn to backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney to make his first start of the season on Saturday. Todd Richards said earlier this week that he wants McElhinney to play one of the Jackets' back-to-back games (Saturday or Sunday), and with Sergei Bobrovsky taking 100 percent of the workload to this point, there's a chance McElhinney could spell him in Washington.

For now, the hope is that the Blue Jackets will have Gaborik back in the fold but there has been no update since Tuesday on Nick Foligno, who returned to Columbus for personal reasons. 




Both the Capitals and Blue Jackets have struggled out of the gate, with Columbus winning two of its first six games and Washington winning just two of its first seven contests. Capitals coach Adam Oates has maintained that his group will be rewarded for the good things it's doing on the ice, including spending a lot of time in the opposition end of the ice and creating chances at both even strength and on the power play.

The Capitals' power play has been their bread and butter and it was red-hot on opening night in Chicago, but Washington has struggled to consistently find the back of the net ever since that four-goal outburst at United Center.

The New York Rangers, another Metropolitan Division team that has struggled mightily in the early part of 2013-14, came into Verizon Center earlier this week and laid a 2-0 shutout on the Capitals. Henrik Lundqvist was terrific in goal, but the Capitals weren't able to sustain much pressure in the Rangers' zone. Always an opportunistic bunch, the Rangers capitalized on a pair of defensive miscues by Washington and left D.C. with a 2-0 win.

Despite playing solid hockey over their last three games, the Blue Jackets have a 0-3-0 record to show for it. They've out-chanced opponents, rallied from late deficits and gone toe-to-toe with elite teams in the league but it's hard to feel good about effort when it's not producing points. After they face the Capitals on Saturday, the Blue Jackets return home to play eight of their next nine games at Nationwide Arena. 

It makes Saturday's game that much more important for Columbus, to return home on a positive note and prepare to make up the ground they lost on the road. The first Metropolitan Division clash between the Blue Jackets and Capitals should be a good one. 





VS. VANCOUVER CANUCKS
SUNDAY, 6 P.M.
NATIONWIDE ARENA 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 3 3 1 1 4
B. Dubinsky 3 0 4 0 4
M. Calvert 3 2 1 3 3
R. Johansen 3 1 2 0 3
B. Jenner 3 1 2 -1 3
D. Savard 3 0 3 1 3
C. Atkinson 3 1 1 1 2
D. MacKenzie 3 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 3 1 0 0 1
J. Skille 3 0 1 -1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 1 2 0 .904 3.32
 
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