Game 73 Preview: Sock it to 'em

Colorado, along with Nashville and to a point Detroit, are the teams that have always given the Jackets fits. In years past, and even this year at times, it seems like the Jackets play a more conservative game. Colorado has been a weaker team this season, so there's no excuse for the Jackets to play it tight. Tonight, in Colorado, it's time for the Jackets to take it to the Avs. Come out strong, and play a fast, physical brand of  hockey.

Take a page out of the Flyers' book from the good ole days-

"We take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor." - Bobby Clarke

Essentials:
Game Time: 9:00 pm EST
TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: WBNS FM (97.1)
Blue Jackets vs Avalanche coverage

Opponent's Blog: Mile High Hockey

The Avs, like the Jackets, are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. This is a pride game, and the Jackets look to extend their franchise-record win total away from home ice.

Grant Clitsome didn't travel with the team, but Anton Stralman is on the trip, although it's unlikely he'll be in the lineup today. Kris Russell will need to bounce back after a poor outing against the Devils, and lead the transition game. I've been more and more impressed with Sami Lepisto since he came over at the deadline, and I look for him to get some serious ice time tonight, especially on the powerplay.

Up front, the Jackets need to get things going offensively. Derick Brassard was great in the first couple of of games after he returned from injury, but he hasn't been as effective of late. It's crucial that he gets things going. He's best when he is shooting the puck and not forcing passes to Rick Nash.

A quick scan of the Avs lineup reveals a lack of a high-end wingers, making the Chris Stewart trade even more puzzling. They do boast an outstanding pair of centers in Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene however. Their blueline is an interesting mix of two-way and shutdown types.

Even though the playoffs are essentially out of the picture, this game still has the potential to be an exciting tilt.

Keys To The Game:

  • Road Warriors - In a reversal of history, the Jackets are actually a better road team this season. They have had struggles in Denver, but a road game against a weaker team is an advantage for the CBJ. 
  • Spread the Wealth - When the Jackets are winning, everybody is contributing to the offense. When they are struggling, certain guys disappear, Nash tries to beat three guys every time he has the puck, and when his linemates have it they lose creativity and try to force the biscuit to him. They need to spread the puck.
  • Don't Sit on Leads - I may be getting ahead of myself here, but the Jackets have been guilty of late of sitting on leads. They need to maintain pressure if they go up by a goal or two. 

Blue Jackets Information:

Team Page  Schedule
Roster Stats

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Rick Nash Derick Brassard Jakub Voracek
Scottie Upshall
Antoine Vermette R.J. Umberger
Derek Dorsett Samuel Pahlsson Matt Calvert
Ethan Moreau Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Jan Hejda Sami Lepisto
Fedor Tyutin Marc Methot
Craig Rivet Kris Russell
Steve Mason

Mathieu Garon

 

Colorado Avalanche

Ryan Stoa
Paul Stastny
David Jones
Daniel Winnik Matt Duchene
Mark Olver
Cody McLeod
Ryan O"Reilly
Jay McClement
Brandon Yip Kevin Porter David Koci
Erik Johnson
Ryan Wilson
Ryan O"Byrne
John-Michael Liles
Jonas Holos
Matt Hunwick

Brian Elliott
Peter Budaj



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