The Blue Jackets limp North of the border to face the Jets in a quick one-game road trip. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. EST.
Columbus has been awful this season. The Jackets sit last in the Metropolitan Division and last in the Eastern Conference with 16 points and a 7-12-2 record. Boone Jenner leads the team in goals with nine in his first 21 games. Johnny Gaudreau leads the Blue Jackets in points with 22 and is second on the team in goals with eight. Columbus will get both Patrik Laine (2-2-4 in eight games) and starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins back tonight from injury. Merzlikins has struggled in nine games this season. The 28-year-old has a 2-5-0 record with a 4.74 goals against average and an .864 save percentage.
Winnipeg has been a surprise team through the first quarter of the season. The Jets sit in second place in the Central Division with a 14-6-1 record and 29 points. Winnipeg have won three straight and seven of its last nine games. Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in scoring with 12 goals. Josh Morrissey leads the team in points with 25 while Kyle Connor (21), Pierre-Luc Dubois (20) and Blake Wheeler (20) all have more than 20 tallies. Connor Hellebuyck has been his normal impenetrable self, notching an 11-5-1 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .931 SV%. David Rittich has been solid in limited action this season, too, with a 3-1-00 record with a 2.77 GAA and an .890 SV%.
The Blue Jackets and Jets split their two matchups last season, but the Jackets were able to capture three of four possible points. Tonight’s projected starting goaltenders are Merzlikins for Columbus and Rittich for Winnipeg.