On paper, these teams don't match up whatsoever. The 'Hawks are loaded with talent up front, and have a well-balanced defense. That said, Chicago has been struggling over the past ten games, whereas the Jackets have been playing some of their best hockey of the season.
Steve Mason will be between the pipes for Columbus, going head head with Corey Crawford. If you look at the numbers in our game preview, you'll notice that Chicago's goals-against per game isn't much better than the Jackets', and it leads many to wonder if they'll be going after a goalie at the trade deadline. I wonder if Nikolai Khabiboulin would be an option? He's a former 'Hawk, and you have to think the Oilers wouldn't mind dealing the veteran stopper.
I'm eager to see how Rick Nash and Jeff Carter perform this afternoon. Both players are very much in the national spotlight as trade rumors circulate, and a dominating performance against a Chicago team that has been on the skids would not only put more fuel on the trade fires, but would give the Jackets a big division win. For pride, of course.
Either way, sit back, bust open some afternoon pops (it's 5 o'clock somewhere right?) and enjoy the game. Our boy Dan P. will be reporting from press row and will have the recap up later on.