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The Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets meet Tuesday night at the Nationwide Arena.
In their first eight games of the 2016 calendar year, the Washington Capitals have only lost two games: once against the Blue Jackets in Columbus (more on that later) and once against the Sabres in Buffalo.
The Washington Capitals look to stay hot after winning six of their last seven games. The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.3 goals per game and are scoring on 26.1 percent of their power plays. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington with 27 goals, Evgeny Kuznetsov has 29 assists and Justin Williams has 115 shots on goal. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.1 goals per game and are killing 85.2 percent of their power play chances. Braden Holtby has allowed 71 goals on 1,024 shots faced and Philipp Grubauer has given up 20 goals on 267 shots. Holtby has allowed six goals in his last three games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets look for some consistency after splitting their last eight games. The Columbus Blue Jackets are averaging 2.5 goals per game and are killing 17.5 percent of their power plays. Brandon Saad leads Columbus with 16 goals, Scott Hartnell has 16 assists and Boone Jenner has 114 shots on goal. Defensively, the Columbus Blue Jackets are allowing 3.2 goals per game and are killing 81.5 percent of their power play chances. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed 60 goals on 713 shots faced and Curtis McElhinney has given up 39 goals on 349 shots. Bobrovsky has allowed three goals in his last three games.
The Capitals are 8-3 in their last 11 road games and 38-15 in their last 53 overall. The Blue Jackets are 2-6 in their last 8 vs. Eastern Conference and 7-15 in their last 22 overall. The home team is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.
The Blue Jackets opened the 2016 portion of their campaign against the Capitals on Jan. 2 at Nationwide Arena. It was a crazy game, to say the least, with a lot of adversity for Columbus, but the Jackets found a way to win in a shootout.
Jack Johnson and Brandon Saad each scored twice during regulation to match Washington’s four goals from T.J. Oshie, Jason Chimera, Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Both of Johnson’s goals were scored on the power play, and Saad’s second goal of the night came at 18:52 of the third period to tie the game and push it to overtime.
Columbus goaltender Curtis McElhinney had to leave the game with 4:05 left in overtime when he fell and was unable to return to the game. McElhinney suffered a sprained ankle on the play, was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 4 (out indefinitely).
Backup goaltender Anton Forsberg, on emergency recall, took over netminding duties in a tough spot and stopped six shots in overtime and two of three in the shootout to help the Jackets defeat the Capitals, earning his first NHL win.
The Blue Jackets are 9-10-4 in the all-time series against the Capitals and 4-1-1 in their last six at home, including the aforementioned shootout win on Jan. 2.