Blue Jackets-Capitals Preview
Ending their current slide might not be such a difficult task if the Columbus Blue Jackets start playing with a sense of urgency.
The visiting Blue Jackets look to avoid matching a single-season club record with their ninth straight defeat Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals.
With injuries to No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (broken finger) and forwards Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal), Artem Anisimov (concussion) and Mark Letestu (groin) proving tough to overcome, the Blue Jackets (4-9-1) haven’t helped matters with some less-than-inspired play that’s littered their 0-7-1 stretch.
Things may have bottomed out Saturday for Columbus, which trailed 4-0 in the first period of a 7-4 home loss to Tampa Bay.
"It’s getting to the point where it’s embarrassing us," winger Cam Atkinson said. "But we just have to stick together as a team. We know what we’re capable of doing.
"We say it 100 times, we’ve got to be ready to go. We’ve had meetings, talked about it. We’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to take a look in the mirror."
Columbus endured a franchise-worst 0-7-2 stretch from Dec. 10-26, 2009. To avoid equaling that skid, the Blue Jackets must play better out of the gate after allowing 15 first-period goals – among the most in the NHL.
"We put our work boots on this week but we’re not doing this consistently," forward Nick Foligno told the Blue Jackets’ official website. "We’re not a team that should be giving up seven goals. We’re playing reactionary hockey."
The Blue Jackets need to build on their 3-for-5 effort on the power play against Tampa Bay and the fact they scored more than twice for the first time in eight games.
Scott Hartnell had two goals for the second time in as many games, while Ryan Johansen and Foligno each scored and added an assist.
"It’s all on us," said Foligno, who has four goals and two assists in four contests. "You’re still making progress but it’s hard to see that right now. We’re not doing the things necessary to win games."
Columbus has dropped three straight at Washington (6-5-3), which has followed an 0-4-1 slide with two straight victories.
"There was a lot of concern because our confidence isn’t quite there," coach Barry Trotz said after a 4-3 overtime win Saturday at Carolina. "But I think we’re building it every game. As long as we’re consistent with what we’re doing I think we’ll be fine."
Alex Ovechkin got his 400th assist on Nicklas Backstrom’s goal 4:46 into overtime.
"In big games, you want your big players to step up," Trotz said. "That’s what those guys do. They like the spotlight, they want to be in it, and they usually come through."
Backstrom has two goals and five assists in the last five games but no points in three straight against the Blue Jackets.
Ovechkin has two goals with an assist in his last three at home versus Columbus.
This contest will be the last of a three-game suspension for Columbus defenseman Jack Jackson, who was reprimanded for an illegal check to the head of Jiri Tlusty in a 4-2 home loss to the Hurricanes on Wednesday.