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Game 27 Preview: Jackets head to the Windy City to face the Hawks

After snapping a five game losing streak, the Jackets are in Chicago to take on the 'Hawks. On paper, this doesn't look good for the Jackets. It's the second game of a back-to-back, Rusty is out of the lineup with a groin tear (Mathieu Roy will play tonight, he's up from Syracuse on emergency recall), and tonight is the home debut of Hossa.

That said, the boys should still have some momentum from last night. It was a gutsy performance, and maybe the victory against the Blues was the tonic needed to get the Jackets back on track. Chicago is a great team from top to bottom. Their one question mark heading into the season-goaltending-seems to no longer be an issue with the strong play of Huet.

In my opinion, and likely many other share this opinion, the Hawks have the best defense in the NHL. It will be tough to score tonight, but the Jackets do have the weapons needed. Umby is playing his best hockey of the season, and Brass is looking better and better each game. If Voracek can build off of the strong game he had last night, look for that line to produce tonight. That would allow Nash and Juice to do their thing offensively-Huselius has been putting up serious points lately as well.

This is an imprtant game for the checking unit. I haven't seen much from Chimmer all season, and he needs to bring a physical element tonight. Mike Blunden hits everything that moves, and he'll need to continue doing that tonight against the 'Hawks potent forwards. Sammy was a Blackhawk for a brief period last season, and I look for him to have a strong game matching up against either Toews or Versteeg.

Fearless Prediction: Goal from a CBJ defenseman.

Game Time: 8:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Second City Hockey

Game Page: Blue Jackets vs Blackhawks Coverage

TSN Preview: Blue Jackets vs Blackhawks Preview

TV: FSN Ohio

Radio: WBNS-AM (1460); WWCD-FM (101.1)

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak last night with a 5-2 win over the Blues. It should be a loud crowd tonight in United Center. The Blackhawks are back off a six-game trip, Marian Hossa makes his Chicago debut and coach Joel Quenneville goes for his 500th victory.

Jackets Links:

Columbus Blue Jackets / Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule

Columbus Blue Jackets Roster / Columbus Blue Jackets Stats

Here are the lineups for tonight's tilt:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Kristian Huselius
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger
Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
Jason Chimera Samuel Pahlsson
Michael Blunden
Raffi Torres
Derek MacKenzie
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Anton Stralman
Mike Commodore
Jan Hejda
Kris Russell
Mathieu Roy

Steve Mason
Mathieu Garon

EXTRA: Alexandre Picard

INJURED: Fredrik Modin, Andrew Murray, Derek Dorsett, Rostislav Klesla, Marc Methot

Chicago Blackhawks

Patrik Sharp
Jonathan Toews
Marian Hossa
Dustin Byfuglien
Kris Versteeg
Patrick Kane
Andrew Ladd
John Madden
Troy Brouwer
Ben Eager
Colin Fraser
Tomas Kopecky

Duncan Keith
Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell
Cam Barker
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brent Sopel

Cristobal Huet
Antti Niemi