Game 20 Preview: Keep Riding the Wave

Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 21, 2011 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WWCD FM 102.5 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Matchsticks and Gasoline
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Sad that two decent games--and a 2-1-1 stretch which should have been 3-0-1 if they hadn't burped against Minnesota--constitutes "a wave" to ride, but for this club it certainly is. At the risk of editorializing, it appears that a mere change in goal has helped the confidence level of this club immensely. It also helps when your most prized off-season acquisitions finally score goals. 

And that, friends, is "the wave" to keep riding. The top line looked solid Saturday night with Jeff Carter and Vinny Prospal both scoring goals directly assisted by Rick Nash. R.J. Umberger cashed in on the Power Play by--wait for it--crashing the net. James Wisniewski picked a great time to get his first CBJ goal.

But, the story of the past two games is probably more Curtis Sanford than anything. The career journeyman backup has made two starts in a row, and the Jackets have three of a possible four points in those starts. The team seems to have a bit more jump, and a bit more confidence in their goaltending. And confidence breeds confidence when you finally see some results.

Let's hope there are more of those same results tonight...

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-13-2, 10 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Jeff Carter Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger Mark Letestu Ryan Johansen
Antoine Vermette Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Cody Bass Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot James Wisniewski
John Moore Grant Clitsome

Curtis Sanford
Allen York

Calgary Flames
(8-9-1, 17 Points; 5th Division, 13th Conference)

Alex Tanguay Mikael Backlund Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross Olli Jokinen Rene Bourque
Paul Byron Roman Horak Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos Matt Stajan Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester Chris Butler
Mark Giordano Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie Cory Sarich

Henrik Karlsson
Miikka Kiprusoff

Season Series

11/21/11 - Flames at Blue Jackets
12/01/11 - Blue Jackets at Flames
12/27/11 - Flames at Blue Jackets
03/18/12 - Blue Jackets at Flames

By The Numbers

Scoring
CGY - 2.28 G/G (26th)
CBJ - 2.26 G/G (27th)

Defense
CGY - 2.61 GA/G (15th)
CBJ - 3.53 GA/G (30th)

Power Play
CGY - 12.5% (28th)
CBJ - 14.1% (23rd)

Penalty Kill
CGY - 83.1% (14th)
CBJ - 73.1% (30th)

Game Notes:

  • No Memory - Let's hope the Jackets don't revert back to the team that got smoked in its first home game against Calgary last season. Ugh.
  • Big Minus - Much has been made of Rick Nash's stat lines of late, including his -12 rating. Let's not look too far past Jarome Iginla, who much like Nash is struggling a bit himself: 5G, 4A, -10 in 19 games. The Flames haven't been scoring much either, and the 34-year-old Iginla may finally be seeing Father Time in his rearview mirror.
  • Lines and Scratches - The lineups above are the exact same for Columbus as they used on Saturday in Nashville. I am only assuming they won't make changes after such a monumental win. I'm not sure if Derick Brassard will draw back in, or if Aaron Johnson for some reason would do the same, but I'm going to assume Scott Arniel liked what he saw enough on Saturday to run it out there again. [update] Reports from morning skate indicate that Cody Bass may draw in for Matt Calvert on the fourth line. [update again] Dispatch guys are reporting that Steve Mason is out tonight as the backup after taking a shot to the face off the stick of Nash at morning skate. Allen York is the emergency recall back-up. Also, Marc Methot did not skate this morning, and is a game-time decision apparently. If he can't go, Johnson would go and pairings might shuffle.
  • Speaking of Goalies... - The Dispatch guys are also reporting that it will be Karlsson tonight for the Flames, instead of Kipper.
  • Fans in Stands - After the Jackets Backers' showing on Saturday in Nashville, it will be interesting to see if the win against the Preds generates any walk-up ticket action. It is a holiday week that some people have off, so I'm anxious to see if the win on Saturday combined with the generally solid play of the last week will coax a few more people into the barn.
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