Game Preview: Capitals @ Blue Jackets


Washington enters a big back-to-back set on Tuesday when the Capitals visit the surging Blue Jackets in Columbus. Puck-drop is 7:00 PM. The team will then head home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night before a national television audience. Puck-drop is 8:00 PM.

The Blue Jackets (7-4-2) are 8th in the league in goals scored (45) and are on a tear as of late. Columbus slapped a 10-spot on a Carey Price’less Canadiens team earlier in the month, and pasted eight goals on the St. Louis Blues in their last outing on Saturday night. That’s a lot of cannon fire, considering the Blue Jackets are last in the NHL in average shots per game at 26.9.

In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky got off to a decent start this season, but has been soft in his last two outings, giving up four goals in each of his last two starts. (St. Louis and Boston). In the Boston game, Bobrovsky gave up four goals in just 12:48 of the first period, before being shown the bench.


Special Teams:
The Blue Jackets power play is clicking on all cylinders, ranked No. 1 in the league at 33.3%. The Jackets Penalty kill is also doing fairly well, ranked 11th in the league at 83.3% for a combined special teams index of an impressive 116.6.

Other Notes:
Nick Foligno and Sam Gagner lead the Jackets in goals scored (6) and Alexander Wennberg leads the team in assists (13).

The Capitals (9-4-1) are coming off of their worst defeat of the season, a 5-1 drubbing from the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Saturday night. Washington is in the middle of a pair of back-to-back sets, having started the 2X2 set with Chicago and Carolina on Friday and Saturday, and now heading into a Columbus and Pittsburgh set on Tuesday and Wednesday. Barry Trotz confirmed that Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer will each make a start in the team’s back-to-back games this week. Grubauer will get the start in Columbus and Holtby will get the start against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

New Day, New Lines – Barry Trotz reorganized the forward lines again on Monday. The jumbled lines now have Jay Beagle and Brett Connolly on the top line with Alex Ovechkin.

Not So Special Teams – The Washington Capitals special teams continue to search for answers. The Capitals power play is currently ranked 24th in the league at a conversion rate of 12.5%. The Capitals penalty kill is currently ranked 20th in the league at a 80.5% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 92.5%.

Shots Fired – The Capitals are 11th in the league in shots taken per game with an average of 30.9 per game. The Capitals are sixth in the league in fewest shots against with an average of 27.9 per game.

The Capitals won the season series against the Blue Jackets last season, posting a 3-0-1 record. Braden Holtby posted a 3-0-1 record against the Blue Jackets last season with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.


Fan Vote:

Series Flashback:
In the last meeting between the two teams, the Capitals clinched the President’s Trophy with a 4-1 over the Blue Jackets at Verizon Center.

Evgeny Kuznetsov registered a career-high four assists on Jan. 19 in the Capitals’ 6-3 win at Columbus.


  • Jay Beagle scored two goals in the first period on Friday at Chicago, marking his third career multi-goal game and the first time in his career he has scored two goals in a period.
  • Marcus Johansson scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Friday at Chicago, marking his first career overtime goal.
  • Johansson’s goal marked his 18th career game-winning goal. Since he entered the NHL in 2010-11, Johansson ranks second among Capitals skaters in game-winning goals (Alex Ovechkin: 50).
  • Washington has earned a point in five consecutive games against Columbus.

Jay Beagle spoke with media following practice on Monday:

John Walton chats with Karl Alzner in today’s “Rink Side Update”:

Barry Trotz spoke with the media following the team’s optional morning skate in Columbus.


Capitals shake up forward lines, teaming Jay Beagle with Ovechkin (WaPo)
Caps Seek Offensive Spark as they Visit Columbus (Mike Vogel)
Game Notes at Columbus, 11/15/16 (Capitals PR)
SKATE SHAVINGS: News and Notes From Caps’ Morning Skate (Mike Vogel)

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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