The Jackets take on the lowly LA Kings tonight, in a game where Columbus can make up some ground as they inch toward the eight spot in the West. The Jackets are currently two points back of eighth place Nashville, and they sit 11th. Vancouver and Phoenix sit 9th and 10th, with 61 and 60 points respectively. The Preds and 'Yotes play each other tonight, and Vancouver takes on Chicago. The best case scenario for the Jackets right now is a win against LA, a Phoenix win in regulation, and a Chicago win over the Canucks. If those three scenarios take place, there will be a three way tie for eighth between Columbus, Nashville, and Phoenix.
The Kings are starting goalie Dan Cloutier tonight, which bodes well for the Jackets, based on Cloutier's poor play this season in LA and for Manchester of the AHL. Pascal Leclaire returns from injury tonight and gets the start for Columbus. Pazzy really needs to bounce back quickly, and down the stretch he needs to play at the level he was at before the all star break.
The Jackets also need their top scorers- here's looking at you Rick and Nik- to start lighting the lamp more often, and the secondary scoring needs to go up. Chimmer has been playing incredible since signing his extension, and he needs to continue to contribute. I'm looking at Brassard and Brule to have a strong end to the season, I think they have been a solid pairing since they've been put together on a line.
These are exciting times for Jackets fans, we are at a point where every single game is important- games like tonight are absolutely must-win.