Can the Blue Jackets defend Nationwide from the onslaught of goals (and presumably of shit-talking Blackhawks fans who suddenly started showing up three years ago)? Good lord, let's hope so.
This compressed season isn't going to give many teams a chance to catch their breath. The Blue Jackets are one of the worst examples of that tonight, as they welcome the undefeated and red-hot Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are 4-0-0, and are coming off a win against St. Louis. They've been scoring plenty of goals (goodie!), and played solid enough defense. Their special teams are some of the best in the league right now.
The Jackets have been very good on the PK, decent-to-mediocre on the PP, and downright atrocious at even strength. It's going to take a concerted effort to get good scoring chances--with offense coming from everywhere in the lineup--as well as a RESPONSIBLE defensive effort to stay in this game.
Steve Mason gets the start in net. He did not fare so well against Chicago last season (but then again, who on the Jackets really can say they did?). He'll need a much better effort in front of him, and he'll probably need to get settled in early and make a few outstanding saves, to win this one tonight.