The best vs the worst: Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks
If the Blackhawks set a new league record on Friday night, why not extend the record a little further?
Sunday night's game will be a meeting of the best and the worst in the league. Columbus comes in to town on the tail end of a back-to-back, having lost to St. Louis 2-1 on Saturday night. The Blue Jackets are 5-11-2, having just 12 points to show for the season thus far. With Washington's win this weekend, Columbus fell to last place.
Despite CBJ's struggles, however, the team should never be fully discounted. In 10 of their 18 games, Columbus has lost by just one goal, and they've gone to the shootout twice. They have also on rare occasion shown the ability to score, having beaten the Sharks 6-2 just two weeks ago.
For a team to be sitting at the bottom of the standings, you might expect their goalie stats to be far worse as well. Sergei Bobrovsky is .902 sv% with 2.71 GAA and Steve Mason is .900 with 3.00 GAA. It might be surprising to note that goalies such as Cam Ward, Jonas Hiller, and Brian Elliott -- all on teams currently in playoff contention -- are doing worse. (Detroit's Jimmy Howard and LA's Jonathan Quick are barely above Bobrovsky on the stats charts as well.)
Columbus is missing three players to injury (Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Murray), but the team is committed to being gritty and physical. The current Blue Jackets are what the Blues have been for years: no flashy, showcase talents along the lines of a Kane or Crosby, but a bunch of hard-working guys who can make games difficult for the other team.
Coming into Chicago, the Blue Jackets will be on their final game of a 6-game road trip (1-4-0 so far). It's easy to be forgiven if you think they will be a walk in the park, but the Blackhawks will need to step on the gas early, and force Columbus to play catch-up. Fortunately, so far this season, the Blackhawks have not shown an inclination to underestimate any team yet.
These teams last met a few weeks ago in Columbus, a 3-2 Chicago win. That game was one of the six times this season that the Blue Jackets have gotten on the board first; but CBJ has won just one game (0.167 w%) when getting on the board first. A disallowed Columbus goal during the game swung momentum Chicago's way, and there's no doubt the Blue Jackets would enjoy scratching out a win against the league's best.
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Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison, Chicago
Blackhawks record: 14-0-3
Blue Jackets record: 5-11-2
Tonight's promotional giveaway: Blackhawks car flag
Where to watch: CSN-Chicago; Fox Sports Ohio
Where to listen: WGN 720 (phone app available)
Next 2 games: format: Mon. 2/25 vs Oilers; Thur. 2/28 @ Blues