Blue Jackets back in action tonight at Chicago Blackhawks with rookie sensation, Connor Bedard, 8 PM

By Joe Coopersmith

Connor Bedard with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2023. By JennG – https photos jennthulhu_photog, CC BY-SA 2.5, https

Blackhawks to Watch

«  2023 first overall pick C Connor Bedard leads NHL rookies in goals (tied) and points and ranks second in assists with 17-23-40 in 46 contests despite missing 14 games due to a fractured jaw in January/February.

«  Former Blue Jacket captain and LW Nick Foligno leads the club in penalty minutes and ranks third in goals with 14-13-27 in 53 outings.

«  Former CBJ D Seth Jones leads Chicago blueliners in assists and points with 1-17-18 in 45 games.




All-Time Series

«  Columbus has gone 39-46-15 in 100 all-time meetings vs. Chicago, including 18-25-6 on the road.

«  The teams have split the last two season series and six of the last seven two-game sets dating back to 2012-13.

«  CBJ have won three of the last four games in the series since Feb. 17, 2022.

«  Columbus has picked up points in six of its last eight games at the United Center dating back to Feb. 16, 2019 (4-2-2).

«  The home team has won three-straight in the series after a stretch in which the road team won six consecutive from Feb. 23, 2021-Feb. 17, 2022.

«  The winning team has scored four or more goals in nine of the past 11 meetings of the series, including the past seven-straight.

«  CBJ have recorded a power play goal in each of the past four games of the series (4-of-13; 30.8 pct.).

«  The Blue Jackets’ two shutouts in the series were recorded by Pascal Leclaire (Jan. 24, 2008) and Fredrik Norrena (Mar. 26, 2008).

«  Columbus has recorded two of the three hat tricks in the all-time series with Patrik Laine (Feb. 17, 2022) and Cam Atkinson (Mar. 27, 2015) recording the feats for the Jackets.

This Season (CBJ, 1-0-0)

«  Nov. 22, 2023 – at CBJ 7, CHI 3

«  Mar. 2, 2024 – at Chicago (8 p.m. ET)

Player Notables vs. Blackhawks

«  RW Yegor Chinakhov – 1-2-3 in 3 career GP, recording assists in each of his past two contests (1-2-3).

«  LW Johnny Gaudreau – 9-20-29 with points in 17 of 23 career GP, including assists in his last two games (0-3-3) and points in 13 of his past 15 (8-16-24, 9 multi-point games).

«  C Boone Jenner – 6-4-10 in 20 career GP, recording points in six of his past eight games against the club (6-3-9), including goals in three-straight (4-2-6) and multiple points in each of his last two (3-2-5).

«  RW Kirill Marchenko – 3-1-4 in 3 career GP, scoring goals in all three career games against the club.

«  D Damon Severson – 2-11-13 in 14 career GP, recording points in three of his last four games (1-5-6, 2 multi-point efforts) and seven of his past 10 (2-8-10) as well as points in each of his last six contests at the United Center (2-7-8).

«  D Zach Werenski – 2-10-12 in 15 career GP, recording assists in his last three games (0-7-7) and five of his past seven appearances against the club (0-9-9) as well as three of his last four at the United Center (0-4-4).



  • CBJ moved to 3-4-0 in the last seven games dating back to Feb. 17 after falling in a back-to-back set at the NY Rangers on Feb. 28 (1-4) and vs. Carolina on Feb. 29 (2-4).
  • It marked just the second time this season that the club failed to pick up a point in either of its first nine back-to-back sets (also Nov. 18 at Washington/Nov. 19 at Philadelphia).
  • The game against Buffalo on Feb. 23 kicked off a stretch of three-of-four and 9-of-13 games played at Nationwide Arena through Mar. 17.
  • The club is in a stretch of five games played in seven days, including two back-to-back sets from Feb. 28-Mar. 5.
  • CBJ have scored at least two goals in 38 of the last 48 games dating back to Nov. 6.
  • Columbus has scored a power play goal in three of the last four games (3-of-10; 30.0 pct.) to rank 11th-T in the league in power play percentage since Feb. 23.
  • The team has killed off all opponent power play opportunities in four of the past five contests (13-of-14; 92.9 pct.) ranking tied for first in the NHL (Rangers) in penalty kill percentage since Feb. 21.
  • Columbus was held to 22 shots on goal in Thursday’s contest against Carolina.  The team has recorded 296 shots on goal over the last nine contests and ranks sixth in the NHL in shots-on-goal per game since returning from the NHL break on Feb. 10 (32.9).
  • The Blue Jackets have played in 24 one-goal games this season, ranking tied for the 14th-most in the NHL.
  • CBJ have had 15 of their games decided after regulation this season, tied for the eighth-most in the league.
  • CBJ rank 11th-T in the NHL with 126 goals scored at 5-on-5 play this season.
  • Columbus ranks 14th-T in the league with 56 first period goals.
  • CBJ rank fifth in the league in blocks-per-60 minutes (17.32) and sixth in blocked shots (1,036) in 2023-24.
  • Blue Jackets blueliners have combined for 11-29-40 in the last 20 contests as well as 19-74-93 over the past 43 contests.  They rank ninth-T among NHL defensive units in assists and 11th-T in points with 24-106-130 in 59 games this season.  The club also leads the league in assists percentage (37.5 pct.) and ranks second in points percentage (28.6 pct.) recorded by its defense.
  • CBJ’s rookie class has combined for 29-37-66 in 59 games this season.  They lead the league among teams’ rookies in goals and rank third in points and fourth-T in assists.  The Blue Jackets are one of two teams in the league (Minnesota) to have two rookies with 25 or more points in 2023-24 (Dmitri Voronkov-30, Adam Fantilli-27).


  • RW Yegor Chinakhov has collected 4-5-9 in his last 12 contests played.  He has also registered 5-6-11 with three multi-point efforts in his last 15 games and has totaled 12-11-23 over his last 30 contests.
  • Adam Fantilli, who suffered a calf laceration on Jan. 28 and is expected to miss eight weeks, ranks fifth-T among NHL rookies in goals and eighth-T in points with 12-15-27 in 49 outings.
  • LW Johnny Gaudreau has registered points in eight of his last 12 games (1-12-13).  The winger, who leads the club in assists, points, multi-assists and multi-point outings with 8-34-42, nine multi-assist and 11 multi-point efforts in 59 contests, ranks 14th-T in the NHL in assists since Jan. 13 with 1-16-17 in 17 games.  He has also recorded 7-29-36 with 10 multi-point outings in his last 42 contests after collecting 1-5-6 in the first 17 games of the season.  In his second season with the club, he already ranks eighth all-time in multi-assist outings (23) and is three games shy of tying Artemi Panarin for seventh.
  • Erik Gudbranson has set single-season career highs in assists and points (tied, 20221-22) with 3-14-17 in 55 games this season.
  • Boone Jenner, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, skated in his 700th career game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.  He also ranks third on the franchise’s all-time lists in goals and points with 188-167-355 in 700 contests.  The forward, who skated in his first NHL All-Star Game in his 11th NHL season on Feb. 3, has posted points in six of his last nine games (5-4-9).  He leads the club in goals with 18-9-27 in 44 outings and sits two goals shy of his third consecutive – and fourth career – 20-goal campaign.
  • RW Kirill Marchenko has collected 1-2-3 in the past four games, including notching his sixth multi-point effort of the season with 1-1-2 on Feb. 25.  He has also registered points in five of his last nine contests (2-4-6).  He has recorded 17-14-31 in 57 contests this season and has already set single-season career highs in assists and points after posting 21-4-25 in 59 contests during his 2022-23 rookie campaign.
  • Elvis Merzlikins stopped 64-of-68 shots faced (.941 SV%) while allowing two goals in each contest against the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers this week (1-0-1; 2.03 GAA).
  • LW Alex Nylander notched his first points as a Blue Jacket in his third game with his ninth career multi-point outing after posting 1-1-2 against the Hurricanes on Thursday.  Acquired in a trade on Feb. 22, he made his team debut vs. the Rangers on Feb. 25 and skated in his 100th career NHL contest on Feb. 28 at Madison Square Garden.
  • Ivan Provorov, who has registered 1-1-2 in the last four games, ranks second on the club in blocked shots and time on ice and third in assists with 5-21-26 and 105 blocked shots, while averaging 22:24 TOI in 59 appearances this season.
  • Jack Roslovic has collected assists in five of the last seven games (1-6-7) and points in six of the past eight contests (2-6-8) after registering an assist on Thursday.
  • Damon Severson has collected assists in three of the past five outings (0-3-3) and leads club blueliners in goals with 6-13-19 in 44 outings in 2023-24.
  • Cole Sillinger has scored goals in back-to-back games for the second time this season and fourth time in his career.  He has also posted 2-1-3 in the last five contests. With 10-12-22 in 54 games this season, he sits three assists from tying his single-season career high set in his rookie campaign in 2021-22 (16-15-31 in 79 GP).
  • LW Dmitri Voronkov has posted goals in four of the last eight games (4-1-5), including recording his third multi-point effort with 1-1-2 on Feb. 25 vs. the NY Rangers.  He leads NHL rookies in goals and shots on goal and ranks second in points (tied) and goals-per-game (min. 5 GP) since Jan. 15 with 9-1-10 and .56 goals-per-game in 16 contests.  He sits one goal behind the NHL rookie leaders in goals (Chicago’s Connor Bedard and Minnesota’s Marco Rossi) and ranks fourth in points with 16-14-30 in 53 appearances.  He’s also one goal shy of tying Rick Nash (17, 2002-03) for the third-most goals by a rookie in franchise history.
  • Zach Werenski picked up an assist on Thursday to reach the 30-assist mark for the fourth time in his career (MR: career-high 37 in 2021-22).  He has collected 3-4-7 in the last 10 games and has posted points in eight of the past 13 outings (3-6-9).  He ranks 11th among NHL blueliners in assists-per-game (.64) as well as leads the team in TOI and ranks second in assists and points with 4-30-34 on 24:21 TOI in 47 contests this season.  The 26-year-old is four assists shy from becoming the third player – and first defenseman – to record 200 career assists as a Blue Jacket.



  • Sean Kuraly is one game from 200 for his CBJ career (34-31-65, 199 GP).
  • Ivan Provorov is nine games from 600 for his NHL career (70-173-243, 591 GP).
  • Cole Sillinger is three games from 200 for his NHL career (29-35-64, 197 GP).
  • Zach Werenski is four assists from 200 for his NHL career (83-196-279, 463 GP).


  • Patrik Laine (clavicle fracture-Dec. 14; NHL Player Assistance Program-Jan. 28); 17 games (for injury)
  • Adam Fantilli (calf laceration on Jan. 28); expected to miss 8 weeks; 10 games
  • F Kent Johnson (upper body injury on Feb. 28); out indefinitely (1 game)