This one should be easy for the Jackets. I hate to bag on a team when they are down and out, but the Canes are downright awful this season. I expected big things from Carolina, especiially after being in the final four last season. Something is just not working, and the Jackets will look to capitalize on that tonight as the Hurricanes visit Nationwide.
As if things weren't bad enough for the Canes-who are without a win in 11 games- they will be playing without Captain Eric Staal and Ray Whitney. The Jackets on the hand see the return of Mike Commodore to the lineup. He's been out with a charley horse. Derek Dorsett is also expected to play, there was some doubt that he would take to the ice because he went into the board awkwardly in the Atlanta game and left the game with a sore knee.
Steve Mason will get the start tonight, and I look for him to continue his recent strong play. It took a while, but it seems like he is getting things back on track. Added to that is the fact that the Jackets are playing with a full compliment of blueliners, and the defensive zone issues may be a thing of the past. Russ will sit out tonight with an illness, but chances are good that he would have been a healthy scratch anyway.
This game has the potential however to go in the other direction. The other shoe is sure to drop soon for Carolina, they are a desperate club looking to end a major slide. Columbus hasn't won on home ice in four games, going 0-1-2 in their last three at home. If they can't get things going early and Mase falters, the Canes still have enough talent up front and in net that they can pull off a win. I don't see this happening however, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Canes pulled it off.
Fearless Prediction- Mase gets a shutout, Jackets score 5 goals. Nash with a pair.
Game Time: 7:00pm ET
Opponent's Blog: Canes Country
Game Page: Hurricanes vs Blue Jackets Coverage
TSN Preview: Hurricanes vs Blue Jackets preview
TV: FSN Ohio
Radio: WBNS-AM (1460); WWCD-FM (101.1)
More after the jump...
From the Columbus Dispatch:
Here are the lineups for tonight's tilt:
Columbus Blue Jackets
| Raffi Torres || |
| || |
|EXTRA: Kris Russell|
|INJURED: Kristian Huselius, Michael Blunden, , |