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Capitals Game Day

Capitals vs. Blue Jackets: Tale of the Tape, Lines, Players To Watch

The Washington Capitals will be shorthanded again and see several line tweaks as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here’s everything to know before puck drop.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals are ready to move on from Tuesday's "uncharacteristic" 5-4 overtime loss, and they'll attempt to fully put it in the rearview as they make a quick stop in Columbus for a one-game road swing to take on the Blue Jackets.

Here is everything to know ahead of puck drop.

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Tale of the Tape

Washington (21-13-6) has turned things around and managed to secure a point in eight straight games, but sloppy play and mistakes that plagued the start of the season have started to reappear at different times in recent games. The Capitals, who are back in the first Wild Card spot, are aiming to get back to putting together a consistent, full 60-minute effort, and they want to continue to get strong 5-on-5 offense as they look to gain more traction in the tight Metropoltian Division. Head coach Peter Laviolette blew up the lines last game after a slow start for the forecheck, and the team responded with four goals to secure a point vs. red-hot Buffalo. Washington's special teams has also been strong of late and will look to keep the good times rolling, as the power play has 14 goals in its last 22 games while the penalty kill ranks 11th in the league (80.1).

Columbus (11-23-2) sits dead last in the Metro and has lost eight of its last 10 games. The Blue Jackets' season hasn't gone according to plan at all for the team, which has a plethora of talent across the lineup. They allow the second-most goals per game (3.92) and manage the fourth-least goals for per game (2.61), but they are still not a team to take lightly, as mistakes against them can prove costly. Special teams aren't great for Columbus, as the power play is the worst in the league (!5.1) while the penalty kill ranks in the middle of the pack (78).

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Lines

The Capitals are close to getting Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson back in the mix, but the two did not make the trip to Ohio and will not play on Thursday. Nic Dowd also stayed back in D.C. and will not play, as he and his wife welcomed their second child, Ruby, back on Wednesday. Head coach Peter Laviolette tweaked the lines and pairings and made some other decisions in response to Tuesday, and here's what the combinations look like, per The Washington Post's Samantha Pell.

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson-Lars Eller-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Anthony Mantha-Aliaksei Protas-Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Martin Fehervary-Alex Alexeyev

Darcy Kuemper will start, with Charlie Lindgren expected to get Friday's game against the Nashville Predators.

Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Players To Watch

As always, keep an eye on Alex Ovechkin. He has struck in three straight games and has eight goals in his last five outings overall as he sits at 808 career NHL goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov is also dangerous and he has points in six straight games and also had a solid night in the faceoff dot on Tuesday. Keep an eye on Conor Sheary, too, as he has points in five straight games and 16 points in his last 16 outings overall. Anthony Mantha also has points in three of his last four, and Sonny Milano is coming off a multi-point outing.

On the Blue Jackets' side of the coin, Johnny Gaudreau is the top name to watch, as he has points in two of his last three games and leads the team with 37 points in 36 games overall. Jack Roslovic and Gustav Nyqvist also have points in three of their last five games, and Emil Bemstrom has goals in two of his last three outings. also keep an eye on their other weapons, including Patrik Laine, Sean Kuraly and Kent Johnson.

How To Tune In

This is a nationally televised game that will be broadcast on ESPN. Local Washington fans can listen at WJFK 106.7 The Fan and Caps Radio 24/7, and Columbus fans can tune in on 105.7 Alternative.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET at Nationwide Arena.