Well, this could get interesting. Todd Richards is not just tinkering with his lines; this is a full-on shake-up. We'll see how it goes. Portzline is reporting that Cam Atkinson is most likely going to be a healthy scratch, and Corey Tropp and Blake Comeau get back in tonight. Matt Frattin will also sit. But, it's more than that: the forward lines have been completely rearranged. I just... wow.
On defense, the same thing is happening, though it's due to the fact that now ALL THREE normal starting left defensemen are out. The good news is that Nikita Nikitin appears a possibility for Monday in Dallas. The bad news? Well, Frederic St. Denis might play tonight. Yep.
The Preds, thankfully, are still on their way back after last season's crater-job. They traded away noted Jacket-killer David Legwand, and though Pekka Rinne is back in goal, their overall team defense has been pretty bad this season, giving up almost three goals per game.
The one area in terms of raw stats in which the Preds are dangerous is still the Power Play; Shea Weber is a difference-maker. So, the Jackets need to stay disciplined and keep this game 5-on-5, or to work over the Preds' weak PK unit.
Either way, this defense is going to probably take some years off of our collective lives until (if?) it gets healthy. Let's hope the Jackets can bury Thursday night and start over from scratch to get on the winning side of the ledger again.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(32-26-5, 69 Points; 4th division, 9th conference)
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Nathan Horton|
|Nick Foligno||Ryan Johansen||Boone Jenner|
|R.J. Umberger||Artem Anisimov||Corey Tropp|
|Blake Comeau||Derek MacKenzie||Mark Letestu|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Nick Schultz||James Wisniewski|
|Cody Goloubef||Dalton Prout|
(26-27-10, 62 Points; 7th division, 12th conference)
|Nick Spaling||Mike Fisher||Patric Hornqvist|
|Gabriel Bourque||Colin Wilson||Craig Smith|
|Eric Nystrom||Matt Cullen||Viktor Stalberg|
|Rich Clune||Paul Gaustad||Patrick Eaves|
|Roman Josi||Shea Weber|
|Mattias Ekholm||Seth Jones|
|Michael Del Zotto||Ryan Ellis|
11/27/13 - Nashville 4 at Columbus 0
03/08/14 - Columbus at Nashville
Head to Head Stats
Nashville Columbus 2.40 (24) GPG 2.87 (8) 2.90 (23) GAPG 2.81 (19) 20.1% (11) PP% 19.2% (14) 79.7% (26) PK% 81.7% (16) Craig Smith, 18 G leader Ryan Johansen, 25 Shea Weber*, 25 A leader James Wisniewski, 32 Shea Weber*, 40 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 49 Rich Clune, 122 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 90 15-15-4 Home/Road 14-15-3 3/6 vs. St. Louis, L 2-1 Last Game 3/6 @ Chicago, L 6-1 3-5-2 Last 10 6-3-1
*David Legwand has 30 assists and 40 points, but now plays for Detroit