(SportsNetwork.com) – The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to avoid matching the
longest losing streak in franchise history on Tuesday night as they take on
the Washington Capitals.
The Blue Jackets opened this season with high hopes after making the playoffs
for just the second time in franchise history in 2014, but are just 4-9-1 on
the season as they have been hit hard by injuries.
Starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forwards Nathan Horton, Brandon
Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu are among those out with injury.
That has caused the Blue Jackets to limp through an 0-7-1 stretch over their
last eight, the longest losing streak for the club since it opened the 2011-12
season with the same record.
Columbus lost a franchise-worst nine in a row (0-7-2) from Dec. 10-26, 2009, a
skid it will try to avoid matching tonight.
The Blue Jackets failed to halt their slide on Saturday, falling behind by
four goals in the first period to the Tampa Bay Lightning en route to a 7-4
Scott Hartnell scored twice for a second game in a row and Ryan Johansen and
Nick Foligno lit the lamp in the third period to make it a two-goal game.
“We battled back and did some good things, but we’re not a team that can play
like that,” Foligno said, referring to the slow start.
Anton Forsberg was overmatched in his second career start and was pulled after
giving up four goals on 15 shots in the opening period. Curtis McElhinney
stopped 20-of-22 shots in relief.
With Bobrovsky out with a fractured finger, McElhinney will likely start
tonight, though he was blitzed for seven goals on 31 shots in a loss the only
other time he faced Washington. That came while he was without Anaheim on Feb.
The Capitals try to stay in the win column tonight as they have followed up an
0-4-1 slide with back-to-back wins. The latest came on Saturday as Nicklas
Backstrom scored the winning goal with 14 seconds left in overtime for a 4-3
decision over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Alex Ovechkin carried the puck over the blue line from the right wing and
uncorked a long shot which ‘Canes goaltender Anton Khudobin kicked away, but
Backstrom was alone on the left wing to shuttle the rebound home.
Ovechkin recorded his 400th career assist on the tally, while Troy Brouwer,
Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr also scored.
Washington battled back to win despite giving up a pair of goals in the third
period, including a game-tying goal with 6:07 on the clock.
“(That goal) could’ve deflated us, but we kept going and got a big goal at the
end,” Fehr said.
Washington lost forward Tom Wilson to a lower-body injury in the second
The Capitals have lost their past two versus Columbus, but are 11-5-1 with a
tie in 18 all-time meetings. That includes a mark of 5-1-1 with a tie in the
eight encounters at home.