Game 29 Preview: Time To Poke The Bear

Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins

December 10, 2011 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio: 97.1 WBNS-FM - TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Stanley Cup Of Chowder
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Despite the frustration of Thursday night's lost to the Predators, there are worse ways to start a homestand than an OT loss. You get a point, you clearly did some things right, and there's areas for obvious but simple improvements. (For example: Less rebounds. Don't give opposing forwards the opportunity to camp at the blue line. Play with white gloves on the last 5 minutes of the game.)

The reigning Stanley Cup Champions come to town for the second and last meeting of the season - a foreshadowing moment for the realignment to come, with the Jackets having flown to Boston earlier for a hard fought battle that ended in a shootout loss. That game was also the start of Curtis Sanford's wild run - perhaps he can regain some of the poise he lost on Thursday by delivering another big game?

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(8-16-3, 19 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Jeff Carter Rick Nash
Derick Brassard Antoine Vermette Ryan Johansen
R.J. Umberger Mark Letestu Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie Samuel Pahlsson Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot James Wisniewski
Grant Clitsome John Moore
Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Boston Bruins
(17-9-1, 35 Points; 1st Division, 3rd Conference)

Milan Lucic David Krejci Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot Chris Kelly Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron Gregory Campbell Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference Adam McQuaid
Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

Season Series:

11/16/11 Columbus 1 at Boston 2 (SO) - recap

By The Numbers:

Scoring
BOS - 3.18 G/G (4th)
CBJ - 2.36 G/G (27th)

Defense
BOS - 2.04 GA/G (1st)
CBJ - 3.25 GA/G (28th)

Power Play
BOS - 16.2% (19th)
CBJ - 12.4% (27th)

Penalty Kill
BOS - 87.0% (4th)
CBJ - 75.3% (28th)

Game Notes:

  • Everybody Hates Chris - Chris Kelly was a dangerous opponent in the Stanley Cup run, and he's kept up a hot scoring pace this season. The Bruins can truly roll three scoring lines against Columbus, and our defense needs to play accordingly.
  • Even Strength Or Not At All - The Bruins are incredibly hard to score on in the first place, but their PK is practically ironclad. If the Jackets are going to win this, they have to get it done at even strength, and can't rely on the power play (not that it's been a big difference engine...)
  • Chili Required - I have no doubt the Jackets could get two goals tonight - but they're going to need three (or more!) if we want a realistic hope of winning.
  • Brassed Off? - So far, it appears Derick Brassard will continue on the top six, given that Cody Bass was returned to Springfield yesterday and Kristian Huselius will be on the shelf until New Year's or longer. We need him to step up and create some scoring opportunities on home ice.
  • Return to Form - The Jackets are going to need Curtis Sanford to play as well or better as he did in November to come away with two points.
  • Third Jersey Luck? - It's another Third Jersey night, and this year that's generally been a good omen...

This is a big game. A win here starts a new points streak that the team can take into another tough home game vs. Vancouver later in the week, and sets a good tone for fans wondering if there's anything positive for the club under the tree. We're going to be seeing Boston a lot more often come next season. Let's give them a reason to be concerned about that.

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