Game Preview #42 - Can't Slow Down

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sport

The Jackets roared back to a huge win last night in Columbus. And, no doubt, they will be looking for revenge against a suddenly-vulnerable Minnesota team.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild

April 13, 2013 - 8:00pm EDT
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minnesota
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Hockey Wilderness
SBNation Game Page

"This is what makes hockey hockey. It was a playoff game. Everybody hits, everybody checks, everybody blocks shots. You had to be a man to play this game tonight."

So said Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski after last night's game. The trick? You can't let go of that mindset. Every game is a must-win the rest of the way, and the Jackets are going to have to play that same kind of game without the benefit of two days' rest.

The interesting thing? The Wild are suddenly in some trouble, having lost five of six and falling dangerously close to "the bar". That one win along the way? That's right, the stinker dropped by the Jackets on Sunday in Columbus. Here's hoping Columbus has some revenge on its mind.

Minnesota is all of a sudden struggling to score, having been shut out in three of their last four (again, the only exception was the Sunday game in Columbus, grrrrr). They're staggering to the finish line right now, and the Jackets--if they're going to have any serious playoff aspirations, need to cash in.

Killing some penalties would help.

Both teams are mum at this point on any lineup changes, so I'm going to assume the Jackets aren't going to tinker with last night's winning formula.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(18-16-7, 43 Points; 4th division, 11th conference)

Vinny Prospal Artem Anisimov Marian Gaborik
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Cam Atkinson
R.J. Umberger Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Brandon Dubinsky Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
James Wisniewski Adrian Aucoin
Sergei Bobrovsky
Michael Leighton

Minnesota Wild
(22-16-2, 46 Points; 2nd Division, 7th Conference)

Zach Parise Mikko Koivu Charlie Coyle
Pierre-Marc Bouchard Kyle Brodziak Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker Mikael Granlund Devin Setoguchi
Torrey Mitchell Mike Rupp Cal Clutterbuck
Ryan Suter Jonas Brodin
Justin Falk Jared Spurgeon
Clayton Stoner Tom Gilbert
Niklas Backstrom
Darcy Kuemper

Season Series

04/07/13 - Minnesota 3 at Columbus 0
04/13/13 - Columbus at Minnesota

Head to Head

Minnesota Columbus
2.48 (21) GPG 2.32 (27)
2.48 (12) GAPG 2.46 (10)
17.9% (16) PP% 13.0% (28)
82.8% (12) PK% 85.0% (6)
Zach Parise, 15 G leader Marian Gaborik, 12
Ryan Suter, 25 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 15
Mikko Koivu, 33 Pts leader Marian Gaborik, 25
Zenon Kenopka, 100 PIM leader Jared Boll, 88
13-6-1 HomeRoad 5-11-2
4/11 vs St. Louis, L 2-0 Last Game 4/12 vs St. Louis, W 4-1
4-6-0 Last 10 5-4-1

Game Notes

Let's Dispense With the Formalities - Game notes? How about, there are seven games left, and six are on the road. This Wild team is reeling, with losses in five of six. Don't think the Jackets don't know that the one win they have in that span was the total clunker at Nationwide last Sunday. The Jackets need to avoid falling into the trap the Blues did last night, by coming out too fast too early and losing all of their momentum. They can also wear the Wild down physically like they did St. Louis last night as well. Most of all, they have to finish their chances, and not let Backstrom get too comfortable again.

Seven games. They're going to need to win five of them, probably. Might as well start tonight!

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