The 20th game of the season already. The quarter point. The Jackets sit at 11-6-2, putting them second in the Central Division with 24 points. Ask any Jackets fan this past summer if they would take second in the division and five games above .500 at the quarter point, and I'm sure almost every one would have taken it.
That said, the Jackets are lucky to be where they are. They have not looked good for prolonged stretches and they seem to be winning accidently. The early season MVPs would have to be Nash, Garon and Voracek. Those guys have been the most consistent, playing at or above the level that is expected of them. Brass is still rounding into form, and Umby seems to be unable to get into a groove. No fault of his, as he is Hitch's go-to line filler. Juice had a monster game in his return, but other than that he hasn't looked especially effective.
Then of course there was the whole Filatov situation. Maybe it was a distraction? Regardless, he's in Russia now and the team can move on. Tonight's game is very important. Freddy Modin and Andrew Murray are still on the IR, but it looks like the team is all-hands-on-deck otherwise. Commie should be back after his conditioning break, and Raffi should be good to go as well, as he is recovering from his face implosion. Steve Mason makes his return between the pipes, his last outing was the Detroit Game- needless to say he needs to rebound from that.
Dallas has some firepower, that's for sure. James Neal is such a great talent, not to mention Brad Richards is off to a great start. Let's just hope Brass doesn't decide to drop the mitts tonight (you'll remember, a fight against Neal ended Brass' season last year)
Fearless Prediction- A physical game, with a Jacket forward scoring two goals.
Game Time: 8:30pm ET
Opponent's Blog: Defending Big D
Game Page: Blue Jackets vs Stars Coverage
TSN Preview: Blue Jackets vs Stars Preview
TV: FSN Ohio
Radio: WBNS-AM (1460); WWCD-FM (101.1)
More after the jump...
From the Columbus Dispatch:
The Blue Jackets are 4-1-1 the past three seasons in Dallas, but four of those six games went to overtime or shootout. The Stars played last night in Detroit while the Blue Jackets waited for them. The Blue Jackets should be buoyed by the return of two veterans, defenseman Mike Commodore and left winger Raffi Torres. Heads up! Stars winger Steve Ott always manages to get under the Blue Jackets' skin.
Here are the lineups for tonight's tilt:
Columbus Blue Jackets
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