The Jackets will look for their second win of the season tonight as they visit the division-leading Chicago Blackhawks. Columbus is coming off a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres, a game where they put 40-plus shots on goaltender Jhonas Enroth, but could only get two pucks past him. Defensive lapses haunted the Jackets in that game, a trend that has been prevalent in every game with the exception of the team's only win of the season, against the Red Wings.
If the Jackets can give the same effort tonight as they did against the Wings, they have a chance for another intra-division victory. The 'Hawks are a very good team, but the Jackets have the talent to beat them, they just need a 60-minute effort from every player, and they need to avoid a parade to the penalty box.
Goaltender Ray Emery gets the start for Chicago, the third straight game where the opposition has started their backup against Columbus. Columbus will counter with Steve Mason, who will no doubt be seeing a ton of rubber tonight.
(Note: Lines are based on combinations used in practice yesterday and are subject to change)
Columbus Blue Jackets
('11-'12: 1-8-1, 3 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
('11-'12: 5-2-2, 12 Points; 1st Division, 3rd Conference)
By The Numbers ('11-'12 Season)
CHI - 2.89 G/G (9th)
CBJ - 2.30 G/G (T-22nd)
CHI - 2.33GA/G (10th)
CBJ - 3.30 GA/G (26th)
CHI - 12.1% (25th)
CBJ - 9.8% (28th)
CHI- 92.9% (3rd)
CBJ - 64.7% (30th)
- The Jackets need to stay out of the box. While the Blackhawks powerplay has struggled, the Jackets have been woeful on the kill.
- Rookie John Moore continues to play well, and I see him having a strong game in his home town.
- The Jackets sent down Maksim Mayorov and David Savard yesterday, calling up Matt Calvert. With the top Chicago checkers keying on the Brassard and Vermette lines, this opens the door for Calvert to provide a timely goal in his return to the Jackets.
- Vinny Prospal leads the Jackets in scoring, with 9 points in 10 games.
- Defensemen Grant Clitsome and Aaron Johnson sit 3-4 in team scoring.
Antoine Vermette is still looking for his first goal of the season.
Derick Brassard is the current owner of the Green Jacket, with a team worst -5 on the year.
- After last game's heroics, Cody Bass now leads the team in penalty minutes.
- The Blackhawks played last night, losing 3-0 to the Hurricanes. The Jackets need to come out flying to start the game, capitalizing on any fatigue Chicago may be experiencing.
- The Patricks- Kane and Sharp, lead the 'Hawks in scoring with 8 points each.
Good luck in the Windy City, boys.