NHL: Blue Jackets aim to continue recent dominance of Canadiens
After struggling through the first month of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets appear to have found a rhythm amid their recent run of success.
That included another win over the Montreal Canadiens, whom they have dominated of late.
Looking to continue their November surge, the Blue Jackets aim for a seventh straight head-to-head victory over the visiting Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Columbus totaled 30 goals while losing nine of its first 12 games, but has since scored 25 times in going 4-1-1. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal with two assists, Brody Jenner scored his team-leading eighth and Daniil Tarasov made a career-high 47 saves in his eighth NHL start during the Blue Jackets’ 5-3 home win over Florida on Sunday.
Gaudreau has recorded half of his team-high 18 points over the last six games. Meanwhile, linemate Jenner has seven goals with three assists in the last eight for Columbus.
“It’s great to find that chemistry with a player,” Gaudreau said. “It’s tough sometimes losing games and switching lines with different guys, but me and Boone have stuck together for most parts of the season.
“It takes time, but we’re getting there. We’re finding each other and using each other well. It’s been good.”
Gaudreau and Jenner are a big reason the Blue Jackets have posted 22 goals amid a 4-1-0 home stretch, which has been key considering they’ve yielded 19 in those games. That includes a 6-4 victory over Montreal last Thursday. Sean Kuraly had two goals with an assist, Jenner recorded one of each and Gaudreau added an assist in that contest.
Columbus has outscored the Canadiens 28-14 during its six-game series winning streak. Since Jan. 25, 2016, the Blue Jackets are 13-3-2 vs. Montreal, and they have won four straight and eight of the last nine meetings in Columbus.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, won three straight Nov. 8-12 but have allowed 22 goals during the 1-3-0 rut that has followed. Montreal gave up three goals to Buffalo in the first 2:13 on Tuesday and fell 7-2 at home.
“We’re just going to get ready for Columbus (Wednesday),” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “We’ll address some of these things (from Tuesday) in a shorter period of time.
“It was one of those games, and sometimes it’s gonna happen. Sometimes, you’ve got to move on.”
Montreal’s Jake Allen allowed each goal while facing 38 shots Tuesday; he has given up 19 while splitting his last four starts. However, backup Sam Montembeault (3-2-1, 2.83 goals-against average), who stopped 23 of 28 shots at Columbus last week, could get a second straight start against the Blue Jackets in this back-to-back scenario for the Canadiens.
Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal with an assist at Columbus, but teammate Cole Caufield was held without a point. Caufield, though, has three goals with an assist in the last two contests. Meanwhile, Suzuki has recorded two goals and five assists in seven career games against the Blue Jackets.
Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo made 38 saves against the Canadiens, but he has allowed 10 goals in his last two starts. Recently called up following an injury to Elvis Merzlikins, Tarasov has a 3.71 GAA in five starts this season.
–Field Level Media