Blue Jackets-Capitals Preview
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals
- Columbus lost, 5-3, in Montreal on Thursday and has now dropped three straight games overall, since beginning the season with two wins in its first three tilts. The Blue Jackets have lost 60 straight games (0-58-2 record) when allowing 5+ goals.
- The Capitals were shut out, 2-0, by the Rangers on Wednesday, and have now dropped four of their last five games overall. Washington has put an average of just 21 shots on goal in its last two contests (34.0 SOG in first five tilts of the season).
- Washington beat Columbus, 4-2, the last time these two clubs faced off against each other on December 31, 2011. The Caps have won three straight and nine of 14 all-time games vs. the Jackets (9-3-1-1 record).
- Boone Jenner lit the lamp twice on Thursday, recording the first markers of his NHL career. The last Blue Jacket rookie to record a multi-goal game was Cam Atkinson on April 7, 2012 vs. the Islanders.
- Alex Ovechkin came up empty in the goal-scoring department for just the second time of the campaign on Wednesday. Dating to March 14, 2013, Ovechkin has lit the lamp 29 times in his last 30 regular-season contests.
- Columbus scored twice with the man-advantage Thursday -- the third straight game that the Blue Jackets have netted at least one power-play marker. Dating to the last three games of 2012-13, the Jackets have clicked on 33.3 percent of their power-play opportunities overall (10-for-30).
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(AP) -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is making line changes to try to jump-start his team.
His club's next opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, come to town on a three-game slide and unsure if their best player will be available.
These struggling teams are both looking for answers heading into Saturday night's matchup in Washington.
The Capitals (2-5-0) fell 2-0 at home to the Rangers on Wednesday, dropping to 1-3-0 on this five-game homestand.
Oates decided Friday to make some changes, dropping Mikhail Grabovski from the second line to the third and Eric Fehr from the third line to a part-time role on the fourth. Brooks Laich will center the second line, with Martin Erat moving onto that group from the fourth line.
"I know we talk a lot about chemistry and that's important," Oates said. "I just felt a couple guys weren't playing good enough for the minutes they are getting and they need to know that. It could be a short-term change but we had to make a couple changes."
Erat has yet to register a point, but the former Nashville winger has 53 in his career versus Columbus (2-4-0) - his highest total against any opponent.
Grabovski, who has one point in his last five games in his first season with Washington, will now center a line with Joel Ward and former Blue Jackets winger Jason Chimera.
"I played with Chimera in preseason games, a very good player, fast, I need to use his speed, just give him the puck," Grabovski said.
The Blue Jackets are not sure if Marian Gaborik will be available. Gaborik, who has a team-high six points, was a late scratch Thursday due to the flu from a 5-3 loss at Montreal.
Columbus rallied from a three-goal deficit to tie the game, only to allow Tomas Plekanec's go-ahead tally with 1:07 remaining.
"We didn't start the game on time and we were doing a lot of standing still while they were skating," coach Todd Richards said. "We talked about it before the game and for whatever reason, our execution and the speed of the game overwhelmed us."
One bright spot was 20-year-old Boone Jenner, who scored his first two goals in his fifth career game.
"We're a team that never quits," Jenner said. "We're not going to change our game no matter what the score is. We were down 3-0 and we started to pick it up."
Jenner scored twice on the power play, contributing to a unit that ranks among the NHL's best at 27.3 percent. Washington is also stellar in that department, leading all Eastern Conference clubs at 30.8 percent.
That's one reason Oates isn't concerned with his club's offense even though Washington was shut out for the first time Wednesday and Alex Ovechkin failed to register a point for the second time.
"We had plenty of chances to score," Oates said. "We will every night. We have to take care of our own end."
Washington is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings, all decided by one goal.
Updated October 18, 2013