USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks. 20 games. No regulation losses. Seven straight wins. They are half man, and half bear, and half pig.
The Blue Jackets have had a few days to stew over a pretty ugly overtime loss the other night against Dallas. They fell behind by a goal four times, and FOUR TIMES they had an answer. They lost in OT on a pretty soft goal that coupled a defensive breakdown with a Sergei Bobrovsky deer-in-the-headlights moment on a puck sitting juicily on the doorstep.
So, it wasn't all bad, I guess. They could have packed it in several times. The fourth goal Dallas scored was about as soft as they come. But, the Jackets fought back. They scored four goals (!). Granted it was against a third-string goaltender, but they SCORED FOUR GOALS PEOPLE.
Tonight is, again, a different animal. Chicago is just unstoppable right now. Edmonton took them to OT the other night, but Chicago issued a beat-down of St. Louis last night to the tune of a 3-0 shut-out. There just aren't really any weaknesses in their game right now.
That said, Columbus has played them tough twice already this season, which in and of itself is an improvement from last season's parade of slaughters.
The Jackets will be without Derick Brassard, after he suffered an upper body injury Tuesday night. However, they WILL be getting Artem Anisimov back, which after the way he went down against Detroit last week is a bit of a miracle. He will surely be welcomed back, as without him the Jackets are all of a sudden super-thin down the middle.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(5-12-3, 13 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
|Cam Atkinson||Artem Anisimov||R.J. Umberger|
|Matt Calvert||Ryan Johansen||Nick Foligno|
|Vinny Prospal||Mark Letestu||Derek Dorsett|
|Colton Gillies||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Nikita Nikitin|
|Tim Erixon||John Moore|
|Cody Goloubef||Adrian Aucoin|
(17-0-3, 37 Points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Marian Hossa|
|Patrick Sharp||Marcus Kruger||Patrick Kane|
|Bryan Bickell||Andrew Shaw||Viktor Stalberg|
|Daniel Carcillo||Michael Frolik||Brandon Bollig|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook|
|Johnny Oduya||Niklas Hjalmarsson|
|Nick Leddy||Michal Rozsival|
Head to Head
Chicago Columbus 3.10 (4) GPG 2.15 (29) 1.70 (1) GAPG 3.00 (21) 18.0% (12) PP% 12.2% (29) 89.3% (2) PK% 83.8% (10) Patrick Kane, 10 G leader Vinny Prospal, 6 Patrick Kane, 14 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 10 Patrick Kane, 24 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 11 Brandon Bollig, 40 PIM leader Jared Boll, 69 8-0-1 Home/Road 2-8-0 2/28 @ St. Louis, W 3-0 Last Game 2/26 vs. Dallas, L 5-4 (OT) 9-0-1 Last 10 2-6-2
- Let's Get Some Shots On Net - Leaving this here, as it's been a running theme. As bad as Bobrovsky looked at times on Tuesday night, the Jackets were out-shot by a pretty disgusting margin: 39-20. They're getting out-shot 89-68 over their last three games. Gack.
- Stalberg Watch! - Yep, I'm not letting this go. Two games and no points so far, so maybe the Jackets have gotten the message: HE LIKES PLAYING AGAINST YOU. For superstition's sake, here's my original blurb from the first game: "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!"
- PK Time - The Jackets have been without their best PKing centers for a few games with Brandon Dubinsky and Anisimov out, but they have tightened up just a bit against some very tough competition. 10-for-10 over the last four games, which is indicative of a couple of things: first, they're taking less costly penalties. Second, they're killing off the ones they do take. That said, don't keep taking penalties tonight. Chicago has skill to burn. Let's not give them the chances.
The Jackets have been close twice with the Blackhawks. Could tonight finally be a signature win for this team? Probably not. But, the Hawks played last night and the Jackets have had two full days off. They should be the more rested team, and they should be able to use that extra jump to put some pressure on Chicago.