Today the Columbus Blue Jackets take on their first of two opponents this weekend and the Union and Blue will have complete Game Day coverage for the match up against the Washington Capitals. We’ll start off with the keys to today’s match up!
Offense and Defense: Full 60 Minutes: Against Montreal, there were moments when the Jackets did great on both offense and defense, just not at the same time. It seemed when the offense was rolling, the defense would have a lapse and Montreal would end up on an odd man rush. When the D tightened up, the offensive breakout for the Jackets was stifled. The Jackets need to work better as a team and pay attention on both ends of the ice.
Avoid Penalties: During 5 vs 5 play, the Caps are only averaging 1.4 goals per game, which puts them 28th in the NHL. While Washington has several offensive weapons like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mikhail Grabovski, they only have scored 16 goals so far this season. However, half of those goals have come on the power play. Washington currently leads the league in Power Play percentage at 30.8%. In the last two games, the Jackets have come out strong, only to have that momentum killed by a bad penalty and a power play goal. They must keep Washington off the man advantage.
Get Shots on Braden Holtby: Holtby has been off to a rough start in 2013; 1-4-0, 3.28 GAA, .889 Save%. In addition, the Caps have allowed the 4th most goals against in the NHL and are averaging 3.43 goals against per game. Washington is also under performing, with a PDO of 957 (28th overall). The stats indicate that the Jackets have an opportunity to have a breakout day on offense. The Jackets have been putting up plenty of shots, but many have come from further out. They have been more successful when they get bodies in front of the net.
Bob’s Weakness: Sergei Bobrovsky has been having some trouble this season with shots taken further out, and this proved to be the deciding factor against Montreal. If this trouble continues, teams will begin to try to exploit this apparent weakness and try a few shots from a distance to see if Bob will miss play them. The defense and offense need to be mindful of this and make sure that they are prepared for shots from the blue line and ensure they are not screening Bobrovsky.
Check back later for more Union and Blue game day coverage!