Game 58 Preview: Chicago Matinee

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 10: A member of the Chicago Blackhawks "Ice Crew" cleans hats off of the ice after Viktor Stalberg scored a hat-trick against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center on January 10, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Blue Jackets 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets

February 18, 2012 - 1:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Second City Hockey
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I love the occasional afternoon game. They always have a different feel, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is that's different. At any rate, the Blackhawks are in town this afternoon, looking to right the ship that has a serious chance of capsizing.

Chicago is 1-8-1 in their last ten games. Columbus, on the other hand, has been playing better of late and carries a record of 4-6-0 over that same span. It's a crazy thing to see the 'Hawks struggle like this. There's the ridiculous chatter that Joel Quenneville's job is at risk. Yeah, right. What would Stan Bowman do, call Dad up to see if he'll turn things around?

On the injury front, Brett Lebda has been activated and will likely play tonight. Ryan Johansen is scratched...again. What I find disappointing about this is that the team is going nowhere, yet the put together a string of decent play and it's like they are building towards something substantial, and are afraid to mess with chemistry. I think if you plan to build around a player like Johansen, you need to get him in the lineup as much as possible. I'm sure after the trade deadline there will be lots of icetime to go around, and Johansen will get plenty of icetime, but in the meantime I'd like to see the kid out there.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(17-34-6, 40 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal Jeff Carter Mark Letestu
Antoine Vermette
Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Ryan Russell Derek MacKenzie Colton Gillies
Fedor Tyutin Brett Lebda
John Moore
James Wisniewski
Aaron Johnson
David Savard
Steve Mason
Allen York
Curtis Sanford (IR)

Chicago Blackhawks
(30-21-7, 67 Points; 4th Division, 6th Conference)

Patrick Sharp
Jonathan Toews
Patrick Kane
Andrew Brunette
Marcus Kruger
Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell
Dave Bolland
Viktor Stalberg
Jimmy Hayes
Jamal Mayers John Scott
Duncan Keith
Dylan Olsen
Brent Seabrook
Sean O'Donnell
Nick Leddy
Sami Lepisto
Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

Season Series

10/29/11 - Columbus 2 at Chicago 5 - RECAP
11/10/11 - Chicago 6 at Columbus 3 - RECAP
12/26/11 - Columbus 1 at Chicago 4 - NO RECAP
01/10/12 - Columbus 2 at Chicago 5 - RECAP
02/18/12 - Chicago at Columbus
03/20/12 - Columbus at Chicago

Head to Head

Chicago
Columbus
3.03 (5th) GPG 2.28 (28th)
2.98 (27th) GAPG 3.18 (29th)
16.8% (18th) PP% 16.2% (20th)
78.7% (26th) PK% 75.3% (30th)
Jonathan Toews, 28 G Leader Rick Nash, 18
Marian Hossa / Patrick Kane, 34 A Leader Vinny Prospal, 25
Marian Hossa, 56 PTS Leader Rick Nash, 39
Daniel Carcillo, 82 PIM Leader Derek Dorsett, 148
11-15-3 Road/Home 10-15-3
2/16 vs. Rangers, W 4-2 Last Game 2/14 vs. St.Louis, W 2-1
1-8-1 Last 10 4-6-0

Game Notes:

  • Stop Stalberg - Need I say more?
  • The Jackets PP - ...has been hot of late. Chicago has so-so special teams, and the Jackets will need to capitalize on every man-advantage.
  • Eggs/Basket/Yikes - The 'Hawks have assembled a top line of Toews, Sharp and Kane. That line is lethal, and should be seeing a lot of Sammy Pahlsson tonight.If they can be contained, the Jackets have a chance of coming away with a win. If not, scary...

The Blackhawks are a pissed off bunch. They know they are better than their recent record would indicate, and I'm sure their salivating at the thought of feasting on the Jackets. What Columbus needs to do is put forth the same gutsy effort they have shown over the past few weeks, and any powerplay must be taken advantage of. Enjoy the game, folks.

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