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Nowhere Left To Go: Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets Preview

A battle between the two teams currently sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings.

Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Columbus Blue Jackets will face off Saturday at Noon in Nationwide Arena with both teams hoping to pick up a rare win in their respective last games of the calendar year.

The Blackhawks have lost both games since they beat Columbus on Dec. 23, while the Blue Jackets come in losers of their last seven.

Not much has changed for either team since they last met eight days ago. They both continue to be bad at, well, everything. But they’re especially deficient when it comes to scoring goals.

Columbus has scored a measly 10 goals during their current 7-game losing streak and their big offseason prize — Johnny Gaudreau — is mired in the worst slump of his Blue Jackets career with no goals, four assists and a minus-12 rating during that time.

Their most recent loss was 2-1 on Thursday night at the hands of the New York Islanders. The Islanders’ calling card is shot suppression and stingy defense, so Columbus only managed to put up 21 shots. The Blue Jackets’ lone goal came during an extended 6-on-5 with the goalie pulled and 21 seconds remaining in the 3rd period.

The last time the Blue Jackets had a losing streak of seven games or more was at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, which ultimately ended in a coaching change, as Todd Richards was let go so they could bring in John Tortorella to lead them to their crowning franchise playoff moment and yell at all their beat writers.

Columbus continues to be without their captain and one of their best overall forwards as Boone Jenner is still out with a broken thumb. Patrik Laine is also out indefinitely while in COVID protocol and Jake Voracek still hasn’t resumed skating after suffering a concussion on Nov. 4 — with speculation that he may ultimately end up retiring due to his most recent head injury.

Things aren’t much better for the Blackhawks as they’re 1-10 in their last 11 games and have been shutout three times in that same span. Outside of their minor offensive explosion for five goals against these very same Blue Jackets the last time they played, Chicago has yet to score more than three goals against anyone else in almost a month.

Patrick Kane scored the lone goal in their 2-1 loss to St. Louis on Thursday night and it was right around this time last season when he finally started to heat up. Here’s to hoping he can build off that and help the Blackhawks close out 2022 with a flurry.

Tale of the Tape (statistics from this season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Blue Jackets

41.84% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 45.06% (29th)

41.28% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 44.86% (29th)

2.26 (32nd) — Goals per game — 2.72 (27th)

3.81 (29th) — Goals against per game — 4.03 (31st)

56.6% (1st) — Faceoffs — 49.9% (16th)

18.8% (16th) — Power play — 15.1% (31st)

75.0% (28th) — Penalty kill — 77.8% (28th)

Projected lineups (subject to change)

Blackhawks

T. Johnson — Domi — Kane

Kurashev — Toews — Raddysh

Athanasiou — Dickinson — Lafferty

Katchouk — Johnson — Blackwell

McCabe — S. Jones

Phillips — Murphy

J. Johnson — C. Jones

Mrazek

Stalock

Blue Jackets

Gaudreau — Roslovic — Bemstrom

Marchenko — K. Johnson — Nyquist

Robinson — Kuraly — Olivier

Foudy — Sillinger — Meyer

Gavrikov — Bjork

Berni — Gudbranson

Peeke — Boqvist

Korpisalo

Merzlikins

How to watch

When: 12 p.m. CT

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Radio: WGN 720