Game 37 Preview: Jackets Look for Redemption Against the Stars

Steve Mason will be making his third straight start tonight against the Stars. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

December 29, 2011 - 8:30pm EST
American Airlines Center- Dallas, Texas
Radio: 97.1 WBNS-FM - TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Defending Big D
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Tonight's game will be the third meeting of these two teams this season, with Dallas winning each of the first two games. Steve Mason will be making his third straight start, and will look to build off a strong outing last game against the Flames. He'll be opposite Kari Lehtonen, who gets the start for the Stars.

This game will be very telling- after GM Scott Howson announced that he will be active on the trade market, I'm eager to see which players got the message and will up their game in response to Howson's strong comments. I'll say this much though- I'm hoping that the top line as it stands now, with Carter, Nash and Johansen, continues to stay together and produce. I'd like to think that these three forwards are the core players up front, and I'd like to see them as a unit long-term.

Aside from that, look for a grinding, physical game tonight. I think the goalies will tell the story.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

(9-22-5, 23 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
Rick Nash
Jeff Carter Ryan Johansen
Vinny Prospal
Antoine Vermette Mark Letestu
R.J. Umberger Samuel Pahlsson
Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie
Derick Brassard
Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
John Moore
James Wisniewski
Grant Clitsome Marc Methot
Steve Mason
Curtis Sanford


Dallas Stars


(20-14-1, 41 Points; 2md Division, 68th Conference)

Loui Eriksson
Jamie Benn
MIchael Ryder
Brenden Morrow
Mike Ribeiro
Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom
Vernon FIddler
Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen
Tom Wandell
Adam Burish
Alex Goligoski
Philip Larsen
NIcklas Grossman
Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric
Adam Pardy
Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Season Series:

15/10/11 Dallas 4 vs. Columbus 2 - RECAP

18/10/11 Dallas 3 at Columbus 2 - RECAP

By The Numbers:

Scoring
DAL- 2.66 G/G (14th)
CBJ - 2.33 G/G (27th)

Defense
DAL - 2.86 GA/G (17th)
CBJ - 3.31 GA/G (29th)

Power Play
DAL - 14.7% (24th)
CBJ - 15.0% (22nd)

Penalty Kill
DAL - 80.6% (22nd)
CBJ - 74.6% (29th)

Game Notes:

  • The Stars will be without two of their top defensemen tonight, as Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray are out with injury.
  • Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring, with 9-23-32 in 35 games.
  • RIck Nash is now a team-worst -20 on the year, with James Wisniewski right behind him at -18.
  • A somewhat telling stat- defensemen WIsniewski and Fedor Tyutin are third and fourth in team scoring with 17 points apiece.
  • The Jackets are 2-6-2 in their last ten games, while the Stars have gone 5-5-0 over their last ten games.

This game has the makings of an anti-classic, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see how Steve Mason plays in his third straight start. Also, I'm eager to see who steps up for the Jackets after GM Scott Howson publically announced that he will be active on the trade front between now and the deadline.

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