Well, folks, the hits just keep on coming. After a gut-wrenching loss last night in St. Louis--coupled with the loss to IR of Jack Johnson--the Jackets head to The Windy City to presumably help the Blackhawks continue their record-breaking streak.
The Blackhawks haven't lost in regulation yet.
[steps back to let that sink in]
That's right; playing a compressed, accellerated schedule with no training camp, and currently riding backup goalie Ray Emery, the Blackhawks haven't lost in regulation yet.
[refills beverage while you continue to let that sink in]
Hey, at least it only took another crippling injury to get Ryan Johansen recalled from Springfield. I'm guessing he'll draw in tonight, with Sean Collins and Nick Drazenovic in the press box.  Todd Richards has all but indicated that Johansen is more insurance in case *other* guys who are knicked up cannot go. Lineups adjusted below to reflect that.
Also, with JMFJ out, these are my guesses at the D pairings, as all have played together before at some point this season. Steve Mason gets the nod in goal after Sergei Bobrovsky played the last two games in three nights prior.
I have no other superlatives for what could either be one of the biggest streak-breaking upsets of all time, or a savage beat-down. Or, even, a closely played, tight game like the last time these two teams met.
Let's just hope there's no more phantom interference.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(5-11-2, 12 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
|Cam Atkinson||Derick Brassard||R.J. Umberger|
|Vinny Prospal||Mark Letestu||Derek Dorsett|
|Matt Calvert||Sean Collins||Nick Foligno|
|Colton Gillies||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Nikita Nikitin|
|John Moore||Adrian Aucoin|
|Tim Erixon||James Wisniewski|
(14-0-3, 31 Points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Marian Hossa|
|Patrick Sharp||Dave Bolland||Patrick Kane|
|Bryan Bickell||Marcus Kruger||Viktor Stalberg|
|Brandon Bollig||Andrew Shaw||Michael Frolik|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook|
|Johnny Oduya||Niklas Hjalmarsson|
|Nick Leddy||Michal Rozsival|
01/26/13 - Chicago 3 at Columbus 2
02/24/13 - Columbus at Chicago
03/01/13 - Columbus at Chicago
03/14/13 - Chicago at Columbus
Head to Head
Chicago Columbus 3.24 (4) GPG 2.17 (28) 1.88 (2) GAPG 3.00 (21) 18.1% (13) PP% 13.2% (27) 88.7% (3) PK% 82.9% (13) Patrick Kane, 9 G leader Vinny Prospal, 6 Patrick Kane, 14 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 9 Patrick Kane, 23 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin / Derick Brassard, 10 Brandon Bollig, 36 PIM leader Jared Boll, 67 6-0-1 Home/Road 2-7-0 2/22 vs. San Jose, W 2-1 Last Game 2/23 @ St. Louis, L 2-1 8-0-2 Last 10 3-6-1
- Let's Get Some Shots On Net - Last night, the Jackets managed just 20 shots on goal--including eight COMBINED in the second and third periods--while St. Louis managed to block 23 shot attempts. The Jackets simply HAVE to get pucks to the net. I don't know if it's the quality of shot attempts, or something they're allowing defenses to do to them, but they cannot be firing pucks off the shin pads of their opponents. Not only does it not give you a scoring chance, but those blocked shots can lead to break-outs the other way. I don't have to tell you this Blackhawks team can break out on you pretty quickly.
- Put a #@&*ing Body on Stalberg! - Leaving this verbatim from the last game preview, even though Columbus held him pointless on just one shot: "No disrespect intended to the player, but if I have to watch Viktor Stalberg light us up AGAIN all season this season, I'm going to scream. In 12 career games against the Jackets, he has 10/2/12. 10 goals! He had 8/2/10 last season in six games against us! Seriously. Put a body of this guy!"
- Reshuffling the Deck--AGAIN - Say what you will about Jack Johnson's defensive play, but you can't argue that he's a horse who plays big minutes in ALL situations, and that he will be missed. Yes, the six guys out there all have a lot of NHL experience this season, but even still: not having Johnson and his skating, his presence on the PP, and his leadership hurts. The defensive corps is going to have to be stout tonight.
I know I was pretty, uhh, "down" in the lede up top, but this could potentially be one of the biggest wins in recent franchise history if the Jackets could some how rise up and end this streak the Hawks are on. Is it likely? Probably not.
I did watch "Miracle" yesterday afternoon while my son was napping. Just sayin'.