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Jackets Game 5 Preview: Ducks in Columbus

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The Jackets return home to Nationwide Arena tonight, looking to give the hometown fans a better showing than in the home opener- a game where the Jackets were spanked by an undermanned Chicago squad. The Columbus blueline is beaten up right now, with Mike Commodore on the IR, and both Kris Russell and Anton Stralman questionable with injuries. Nick Holden was called up on emergency recall if one of those two can't go tonight. If both Russ and Stralman are out, that essentially leaves Columbus devoid of offensive talent on the back end.

The Ducks are having issues defensively, allowing a ton of shots against. The Jackets must capitalize on this and establish a forecheck early. The 678 line has been steadily improving, and tonight smells like a breakout game for the trio. I expect them to lead the team offensively tonight, especially given that coach Arniel can get the matchups he desires on home ice.

The Ducks have one of the best top lines in the league, and they will need to be contained. If they can be eliminated, the rest of the Ducks lineup is manageable.

One player in my mind who needs to step up is Rick Nash. The captain has had few legit opportunities, and it seems like most of his shots are weak wristers from the perimeter.

PREDICTIONS:

Nasher scores, 678 line gets a combined 5 points.

Essentials:

Game Time: 7:00pm EST
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Radio: WWCD-FM (101.1)
Ducks vs Blue Jackets Coverage
Opponent Blog: Anaheim Calling

More after the jump:

Blue Jackets Information:

Team Page Schedule
Roster Statistics

Lineups:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Kristian Huselius
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
Nikita Filatov
Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
Ethan Moreau
Samuel Pahlsson
R.J. Umberger
Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie
Chris Clark

Rostislav Klesla
Kris Russell
Jan Hejda
Marc Methot
Nate Guenin
Fedor Tyutin

Steve Mason
Mathieu Garon

Extra: Kyle Wilson, Nick Holden

Injured / Sick: Jared Boll, Andrew Murray, Mike Commodore, Anton Stralman

Anaheim Ducks

Bobby Ryan
Ryan Getzlaf
Corey Perry
Dan Sexton
Saku Koivu
Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleskey
Ryan Carter
Jason Blake
Todd Marchant
Kyle Chipchura
George Parros

Toni Lydman
Lubomir Visnovsky
Paul Mara
Cam Fowler
Andreas Lilja
Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Curtis McElhinney