Game Preview #78 - No Rest For The Weary

USA TODAY Sports

Riding high from a big win last night, the Jackets don't get any time to rest on their laurels. Thankfully the Blackhawks also played last night. Whatever happens... JUST. GET. POINTS.

Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets

April 4, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 FM -- TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Second City Hockey
SBN's Blackhawks vs Blue Jackets coverage

Alright, so in looking at the schedule many weeks back, this game was one of those penciled in from which the Jackets needed to "steal" some points. That said, they're riding high after a tremendous effort in Philly last night, both teams are on the back-end of back-to-backs with travel, and let's face it: Chicago just isn't the same team without Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

They're still good, don't get me wrong.

That said, including the evisceration in Chicago last time around, the Blackhawks are just 7-6-1 in their last 14 games and 11-11-3 in their last 25; not exactly setting the world on fire. Take Kane and Toews out of the equation? This is not the Cup winning team that lit us the eff up last month. And, though they are slipping in the Western standings a bit, they are not the more desperate team tonight (or, at least, they shouldn't be...).

Just some food for thought.

For the Jackets, there are also some lineup changes to discuss. First and foremost, Ryan Murray is back, but Nick Foligno is out. The latter appears to be done for the final six games with a lower body injury sustained after he reacted awkwardly to a knee-on-knee hit late in last night's game.

The lines below are my best guess, as the indication seems to be that Brandon Dubinsky will move to a wing spot with both Foligno and Nathan Horton not in the lineup. My guess is Mark Letestu moves to center Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson, and Dubinsky takes Letestu's spot on the recently assembled top line.

The word this morning is that Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start coming off his 37-save shutout last night. While I know the CW says you ride the goalie after a shutout, with so many games in so many days--and this maybe not being one of those games you circle as a "must-have" game--I would have considered going with CMac. But, that's just me, and I am but a lowly blogger.

At any rate, another Western Conference opponent, and as the daily updates show, the Jackets aren't in dire straights in terms of needing ROW to secure a playoff spot. JUST GET US SOME POINTS, PREFERABLY TWO OF THEM THANK YOU.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(39-30-7, 85 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Brandon Dubinsky
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau Artem Anisimov R.J. Umberger
Matt Frattin Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nick Schultz David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Chicago Blackhawks
(43-19-15, 101 Points; 3rd division, 5th conference)

Patrick Sharp Andrew Shaw Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad Michal Handzus Kris Versteeg
Bryan Bickell Teuvo Teravainen Jeremy Morin
Brandon Bollig Marcus Kruger Ben Smith
Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy Sheldon Brookbank
Antti Raanta
Corey Crawford

Season Series

03/06/14 - Columbus 1 at Chicago 6
04/04/14 - Chiacgo at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Chicago Columbus
3.18 (2) GPG 2.72 (14)
2.52 (11) GAPG 2.64 (14)
20.1% (8) PP% 17.8% (17)
81.8% (17) PK% 82.1% (16)
Patrick Sharp, 31 G leader Ryan Johansen, 30
Duncan Keith, 51 A leader James Wisniewski, 39
Patrick Sharp, 73 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 55
Brandon Bollig, 85 PIM leader Nick Foligno, 96
18-12-8 Road/Home 20-14-4
4/3 vs. Minnesota, W 3-2 Last Game 4/3 @ Philadelphia, W 2-0
5-4-1 Last 10 5-4-1
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