"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.
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|
(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|
Season Series01/29/13 - Columbus 2 at Minnesota 304/07/13 - Minnesota 3 at Columbus 004/13/13 - 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
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!