After the Columbus Blue Jackets took Game 1 of their first round matchup with the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, the two squads are all set for Game 2 tonight. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:30 PM ET.
Heading into Game 2 there are a few storylines that’ll be carried over from Game 1, with one of them being the physical play and questionable hits. Both Josh Anderson, who was ejected on Thursday for his hit on Michal Kempny, and Tom Wilson, who received a minor penalty for knocking Alexander Wennberg out of the game, won’t face additional disciplinary action and will both be active for Game 2 tonight.
It’ll be a different story for the guys who were the recipients of those hits, however. Washington defenseman Michal Kempny is considered day-to-day while Columbus center Alexander Wennberg is doubtful to play.
With Wennberg out, Sonny Milano would enter the lineup after being the odd man out for Game 1 on Thurdsay. CBJ Head Coach John Tortorella had the following to say about Milano getting playing time in Game 2:
He still scares the hell out of me in a lot of different situations in a game but he’s a guy…that can make something out of nothing and score a big goal for you.
Another storyline to follow entering Game 2 is special teams. Everyone knew they’d be key going into Game 1, and what we saw on Thursday solidified that notion.
The Jackets officially killed off four of six Washington power plays but allowed two of the Caps’ three goals on the night on Anderson’s five-minute major penalty. If they’re going to have success in Game 2, they can’t keep giving the Capitals and their top-10 ranked power play that many opportunities.
On the other side of the ice, the CBJ also scored two goals on the man advantage, both in the third period. Including Game 1, the Blue Jackets have now scored eight power play goals in their last 16 chances since the beginning of April.
Philipp Grubauer, who was somewhat of a surprise starter in net for the Capitals on Thursday, is expected to get the nod again for Game 2. Although he allowed four goals on 27 shots to the CBJ in the first game, his 2.35 goals-allowed average and .923 save percentage during the regular season indicates Game 2 could be a different story.
For the Jackets, there’s no doubt who will be between the pipes. Sergei Bobrovsky kept the team in Game 1 when it could have gotten out of hand, and will once again be key if the CBJ are going to have a chance to win Game 2.
The Blue Jackets did something they’d never done before on Thursday: jump out to 1-0 lead in a playoff series. They’ll look to do one better tonight: win again and take a 2-0 lead back to Columbus for Game 3 next Tuesday.