Game #51 Preview: Remember our playoff series All Too Well as CBJ host the best goalscorer ever

Jan 31, 2023 - 1:00 PM
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Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets
Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 7:00 PM ET
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally’s Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s blog: Japers’ Rink

Washington Capitals, 26-20-6, 58 points, 4th Metro, 7th East
Columbus Blue Jackets, 15-32-3, 33 points, 8th Metro, 16th East

The Columbus Blue Jackets return home to take on the Washington Capitals tonight. Remember when we crossed paths in the playoffs? The Capitals and Ovechkin were under pressure to perform after years of disappointment while the Blue Jackets were kinda on the way up. In the years since? The Capitals won a Cup and have remained contenders while the Blue Jackets have floundered.


The Blue Jackets are rebuilding while the Capitals are trying to stay playoff relevant and get Alex Ovechkin the goal scoring record. Two teams in opposite directions.

Here’s what you need to know.

Player to Watch

Alex Ovechkin

The greatest goalscorer of all time comes back to Nationwide Arena tonight. Leave Gretzky and Lemieux aside - what Ovechkin has done scoring goals is patently absurd, especially given that his entire career has been in the dead puck era. Ovechkin is 37 years old as of this writing as has 32-22-54 in 51 games for the Caps. He has 812 goals for his career as he chases Gretzky down. We’re witnessing one of the best to ever do it.

Ovechkin has 22-13-35 in 43 games against Columbus, for what it’s worth.

Jackets Notes

Gustav Nyquist is sidelined with an upper body injury that is speculated to be related to his shoulder ... Daniil Tarasov is banged up in Cleveland ... Lane Peterson, newly claimed, may allow the Jackets to send Cole Sillinger to Cleveland ... Kirill Marchenko is the first NHL player since 1926-27 to start their career with 13 goals and 0 assists

The Other Bench

The Caps are in the midst of a 6-7-2 stretch ... In Sunday’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nicklas Backstrom scored his first goal of the season in his return from injury ... After starting the season incredibly banged up, the Caps have gotten Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom back from injury in recent weeks

Season Series

01/05/2023 WAS 6 @ CBJ 2
01/08/2023 CBJ 0 @ WAS 1
01/31/2023 WAS @ CBJ
03/21/2023 CBJ @ WAS

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau Boone Jenner Patrik Laine
Kent Johnson Cole Sillinger Kirill Mrchenko
Liam Foudy Jack Roslovic Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Tim Berni Erik Gudbranson
Adam Boqvist Gavin Bayreuther
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo

Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin Dylan Strome TJ Oshie
Conor Sheary Evgeny Kuznetsov Anthony Mantha
Sonny Milano Nicklas Backstrom Marcus Johansson
Nicolas Aube-Kubel Lars Eller Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson Trevor Van Reimsdyk
Dmitry Orlov Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin Martin Fehervary
Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

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