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Game 8 Preview: Do You Like Gladiator Movies, Billy?

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After a surprising come-from-behind win where the Blue Jackets ratcheted up their game significantly after a poor effort on Friday against the Calgary Flames, the team returns to Nationwide Arena to take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Though the team got a bit banged up in their back to back matchups (LW Kristian Huselius will miss tonight's game with a foot / ankle injury after blocking a shot Saturday), the team will see the return of Jared Boll to the lineup, just in time to see his old mentor and occasional dance card partner, Jody Shelley.

When Boll was asked at the morning skate if he was healthy enough to fight tonight, he replied "I'm cleared to play. That's what it means." Boll has never recorded a fight against the Flyers in the regular season. I wouldn't be shocked at all if we see Boll change that with Shelley or Dan Carcillo tonight. It'll be interesting to see how the team responds if he does.

Beyond that, Mathieu Garon gets the start this evening, and the Flyers just announced that veteran Brian Boucher will be in net tonight for the Flyers. Boucher (himself a former Jacket, though his tenure was so forgettable that most people probably don't recall his stay), is 1-1-1 on the year, letting in 7 goals on 56 shots this season. He's also 4-0-3 lifetime against the Blue Jackets as a starter, with a 2.08 GAA.

Both teams have this strange trend this year of winning when they score three or more goals. Let's see if the Jackets can bust "Boosh" and keep that up.

Keys to the game:

  • Keep It Going: The Jackets looked great in the third period Saturday night, and wailed on Chicago for 20 shots in 20 minutes. If they can use that momentum today against Philly, it should pay big dividends.
  • Shoot, Shoot, Shoot: When the Jackets shoot, they've been winning. In defeats, they're failing to get pucks to the net. This seems obvious.
  • Put The Skate Down: If you let the Flyers get rolling in a game, it can turn into a landslide. By contrast, they're the worst team in the league at taking penalties, with an average of 19 PIMs per game. The Jackets need to play hard, force the Flyers to spend time in the box, and get that power play going early and often.

Fearless Prediction: Jared Boll drops the gloves, but it's Jake Voracek who lights the lamp.

Essentials:

Game Time: 7:00pm EST
TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: WBNS 97.1
Flyers vs Blue Jackets coverage
Opponent's Blog: Broad Street Hockey

More after the jump:

Blue Jackets Information:

Team Page Schedule
Roster Statistics

Lineups:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Rick Nash Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
R.J. Umberger Antoine Vermette Derek Dorsett
Chris Clark Samuel Pahlsson
Kyle Wilson
Nikita Filatov Derek MacKenzie
Jared Boll

Rostislav Klesla
Marc Methot
Jan Hejda
Anton Stralman
Nick Holden Fedor Tyutin

Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason

Extra: Nate Guenin

Injured / Sick: Kristian Huselius, Andrew Murray, Mike Commodore, Ethan Moreau, Kris Russell

Philadelphia Flyers:

Darroll Powe Mike Richards Claude Giroux
Scott Hartnell Danny Briere Ville Leino
James Van Riemsdyk Jeff Carter Nikolay Zherdev
Jody Shelley Blair Betts Dan Carcillo

Chris Pronger Matt Carle
Kimo Timmonen Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros Sean O'Donnell

Brian Boucher
Sergei Bobrovsky