The Columbus Blue Jackets (39-16-5) will finish their brief two-game road trip Tuesday night in Quebec as they face the Montreal Canadiens (34-21-8) for the first and last time at Centre Bell. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:30 PM ET.
After playing what CBJ head coach John Tortorella called “six of our best periods of the year” in the first two games following a five-day “bye week,” the Jackets will head to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Tuesday night. The stretch of solid play extends further than just the last two games. After starting February 2-3-1, the Jackets have won four of their last five heading into Tuesday’s contest.
While Columbus appears to have turned things around a bit, the Canadiens have been struggling in February. Although they’ll go into Tuesday night’s game as winners of two straight, the Habs have gone 4-7-1 this month. Interestingly enough, all four of Montreal’s victories have been in overtime or shootouts.
The CBJ took the first two games between these two clubs, both of which came at Nationwide Arena, including that 10-0 drubbing in early November.
The Jackets will have the benefit of a day off ahead of the matchup with the Habs, who won’t be as rested as they’ll be playing the second of a back-to-back after playing Monday. Newly hired head coach Claude Julien started backup goaltender Al Montoya on Monday night in New Jersey, likely setting up a Sergei Bobrovsky-Carey Price battle on this evening. Price is an impressive 26-16-5 this season.
There will be a pair of wingers on opposite sides to keep an eye on Tuesday night. Both Cam Atkinson and Max Pacioretty have 29 goals and 24 assists this season. The 29 goals apiece currently sets up each player as tied for fifth in the league in scoring.
The Blue Jackets look to be playing some of their best hockey this season. However, the players and coaching staff have often discussed that confidence is a fine line, and this game will be a perfect example of that.
Will the CBJ come out confident and play their game, or will they make the mistake of underestimating the opposition? Against the top team in the Atlantic Division, it’s hard to imagine the Jackets coming out flat in this one.