Jackets swap centers in order to jump-start offense

Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

During their eight-game winning streak, the Blue Jackets benefitted from continuity with their lineup and in turn, saw consistent results in the scoring department.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards doesn't necessarily believe that what goes up must come down in terms of line combinations and offensive success, but sometimes lines can get "stale," he said, and there comes a time when they need shuffled.

In the midst of a three-game skid, that time is now for the Blue Jackets.

When Columbus takes on the Washington Capitals tonight in a mucho-important Metropolitan Division game, the lines will look slightly different and their defense pairings will be the same as Monday and Tuesday. Ryan Johansen, who has centered a line with RJ Umberger and Nick Foligno for the better part of the last two seasons, will swap spots with Artem Anisimov tonight in an effort to jump-start the offense.

Anisimov will skate between Umberger and Foligno, while Johansen will start with Boone Jenner on his left wing and Nathan Horton on the right. Johansen might be one of the players Richards is referring to: he's got two points (goal and an assist) in the last four games, and in those games, the Blue Jackets are 1-3-0.

A potential alliance with Horton, who has also struggled offensively of late (no points in the last three games) could be a good thing for Johansen, who's looking forward to the opportunity to center one of the game's elite power forwards.

"It's going to be different...I've played with (Foligno and Umberger) for a long time now," Johansen told BlueJackets.com. "But I get to play with two great hockey players. I'm looking forward to it; it'll be fun and a bit of a change but hopefully we can get some chemistry going right away and we'll see where it goes."

Johansen did say, thought, that he hasn't been sitting around in anticipation of his chance to play with Horton - but he understands that changes occur when things aren't going well.

"I haven't necessarily been waiting for it, but he's such an elite player and in the back of my mind I thought it'd cool to play with him at some point," Johansen said. "My other line mates and I were having a lot of success, too; who knows how long this is going to last, you know? But this is an exciting thing for us and we want to get something going for the team.

"I'm playing with other big, strong boys tonight. We're going to try and grind them down low, make some plays in the offensive zone and be a hard group to play against. We have to use our strengths and be smart out there."

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 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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