Canadiens vs. Blue Jackets: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch
A high-event game could be on offer at the Bell Centre.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CityTV, Sportsnet East (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Blue Jackets region: Bally Sports Ohio
Streaming: ESPN+, Sportsnet Now
The Columbus Blue Jackets built up a two-goal lead with an excellent second period last night, but watched as the New York Islanders erased that deficit in the third to force the game to overtime. Columbus carried a power play over to the extra frame, which Boone Jenner capitalized on to give his team a victory.
It was Columbus’s 22nd win of the season, and also marked the fifth time they’ve strung wins together this season; they’ve yet to hit three in a row in 2022-23. On Tuesday, they had been involved in another high-scoring affair, taking that decision into overtime as well versus the Washington Capitals. Adding that 7-6 scoreline to their 5-4 win a night ago, 12 goals is the most they’ve produced over a two-game span all season long, beating the 11 they had in mid-November with wins over the Philadelphia Flyers ... and the Canadiens.
Tale of the Tape
|43.3% (30th)||Scoring-chances-for %||45.0% (27th)|
|2.76 (27th)||Goals per game||2.72 (29th)|
|3.69 (28th)||Goals against per game||3.89 (31st)|
|17.1% (28th)||PP%||19.7% (22nd)|
|72.7% (29th)||PK%||76.0% (22nd)|
It may be a match between two bottom-five clubs in the NHL, but the two teams are finding ways to keep things interesting down the final stretch of their seasons. Montreal just earned a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the week, and probably deserved to win on Thursday versus the Boston Bruins when they either missed wide-open chances or hit goal posts on multiple occasions in a 4-2 loss.
Among the most impressive players in the last game were Kirby Dach (who did beat his season-high time on ice, eclipsing the previous mark set in the first meeting versus Boston by one second) and Jake Evans who was playing his first game in nearly 10 weeks. Evans’s defensive play was impeccable as he anticipated the offensive movement of the Bruins, standing out among teammates who are still having some issues with locking down their own zone. His efforts helped limit the Bruins to just 21 shots on goal, and he’ll now be tasked with slowing down the red-hot Columbus offence.
If the Canadiens can maintain the same level — always a question mark when they take on a low-ranked team providing no source of motivation — they could be the ones with the offensive outburst in this game. Nick Suzuki has been freed of every top matchup with Dach’s return, and now Evans is helping shift the forward depth advantage in Montreal’s favour.
This may also be the game in which Jordan Harris makes his return. He was an extra defenceman in practice ahead of the contest with the Bruins, so should now be ready to draw back in. Despite the overall effort being good versus Boston, there were still moments of mental lapses from the veteran blue-liners, with an odd decision by David Savard to race away from the front of the net and leave the slot vacated, and a comical collision between Savard and Joel Edmundson as the latter mistimed a hit. It probably should be one of those two who sits to make room for Harris’s return, but it’s fairly established at this point that Chris Wideman is the odd man out in that situation.
A few defensive issues will be good for the tank at least, especially if the Canadiens exploit the deficiencies of the Columbus roster, which has surrendered at least four goals in each of the past 10 games. Everything points toward a high-scoring affair tonight, so it’s probably a good thing for us that this match will be played at the Bell Centre instead of under the cannon at Nationwide Arena.