Sorry if the title has been used/overused. It fits for tonight's early evening contest between the Jackets and the Nashville Predators. I couldn't resist. Tonight's game is a dandy little four pointer, with the Jackets currently one point ahead of their Central Division rivals.
I've never liked the Nashville Predators. There's no particular reason, I just don't. On a subliminal level, it could be Barry Trotz's fault. Trotz was the head coach of the Portland Pirates at the time the Springfield Indians left town in 1994. That season, he piloted the Pirates to a Calder Cup Championship, defeating the Moncton Hawks four games to two. Two seasons later, Trotz coached the Pirates to the finals where John Tortorella's Rochester Americans won the cup in a thrilling seven game final series. Along the way to the finals, Trotz's Pirates eliminated the second year Springfield Falcons four games to two.
So maybe, that's enough reason. All the more reason to CARRY THE FLAG for the Blue Jackets this evening when the Jackets head into the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for a 6PM contest with the Predators.
Believe it or not, the Jackets are 0-9-5 in their last fourteen games in Nashville. The Predators are riding high as this is presently the longest current home winning streak of one team over another. Particularly disappointing to the Blue Jackets are the last four times into Bridgestone with one overtime loss and three shootout losses.
|Game Time: 6:00 pm EST
|TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
|Radio: 97.1 WFAN
|Predators vs Blue Jackets coverage|
|Opponent's Blog: On the Forecheck
Keys To The Game:
- Special Teams - This week, the Jackets rediscovered some success on the power play. It's essential that they maintain and build on that success tonight. By the same token, the PK shut down Ottawa on all three opportunities for the Sens. The PK needs to remain lights out against the Preds.
- The Three Stars - New Year's Eve's three stars were Jakub Voracek, Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger. Voracek returned to the lineup after sitting upstairs. Nash over the past few games has again been playing like Rick Nash. Umberger, one of the grittiest forwards in the league, has dug down deep and really accentuated the things that he does so well. These three again tonight, need to be the leaders in this game.
- Between the Pipes - All indications are that Steve Mason will make his third consecutive start tonight. Although he has had a few moments of awkwardness in the previous two games, he has also shown much of the skill that he possesses. A strong night in goal gives the Jackets more than an even chance to win this game.
Blue Jackets Information:
|Kristian Huselius||Antoine Vermette||Rick Nash|
|R.J. Umberger||Derick Brassard||Chris Clark|
|Ethan Moreau||Samuel Pahlsson||Derek Dorsett|
|Kyle Wilson||Andrew Murray||Jared Boll|
|Jan Hejda||Fedor Tyutin|
|Rostislav Klesla||Marc Methot|
|Anton Stralman||Kris Russell|