Nobody can accuse the Blue Jackets of doing things the easy way. With a .500 home record and a stellar road record, they've earned every victory, often in some of the most difficult buildings in the NHL, while struggling at times with games that should be "easy" wins on home ice.
Given that logic, this afternoon should be very interesting, as the Jackets look to rebound from Friday's 2-1 loss in a near fought battle against the Wings at home.
|Game Time: 5:00pm EST
|TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
|Radio: 97.1FM WFAN
|Blue Jackets vs Red Wings coverage|
|Opponent's Blog: Winging It In Motown
The Wings will be going this one without Mike Modano - the future hall of famer was accidentally cut by R. J. Umberger's skate in a board battle on Friday, and had surgery yesterday to repair a severed tendon and "slight" nerve damage. The Wings are currently hopeful that Modano might return this season - I have to admit that I hope so.
I wasn't thrilled about Modano going through a long "I'm retiring" farewell last year, particularly after the touching tribute in Minnesota, where he started his careeer, then making the decision to re-up with the Winged Wheel instead. Despite that, it would be a damned shame if such an impressive career ended on the sour note of a fluke injury. It is not clear who will take his place in the lineup, but I am assuming the team will slot Drew Miller back in rather than making more call-ups.
As to the Jackets, Marc Methot practiced with the team and flew to Detroit - it appears he will go back into the lineup, but there's been no word on who may sit if he does. I'm assuming it will be Kris Russell until proven otherwise. Likewise, after his late game benching, it's unclear if Nikita Filatov will play or sit, but reports from practice yesterday indicated that Kyle Wilson had taken his place on the second power play unit. I wouldn't be shocked at all if Wilson is on the second line and Andrew Murray fills in on the fourth, while Filatov takes a seat.
To the best of anyone's knowledge, it will be a repeat of Friday's goaltending matchup - Mason vs. Howard. Both goalies played very, very well - given Howard's struggles, I have to wonder if he'll be able to find another stellar performance today, or if he might just crack a little.
Keys To The Game:
- Repeat Performance - As discussed here and on most other CBJ blogs, outside of the score, the Jackets played extremely well Friday. They need to keep up the same level of intensity and physical play - particularly the willingness to push around guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
- For The Love Of God, Score On The Damn Power Play Already - Self explanatory. Friday was a clear demonstration of why you cannot waste advantages against a team with Detroit's skill level.
- Road Rules - The Jackets have had some very impressive victories in the Joe. They've also had some very unimpressive losses. The challenge today is to keep up their strong road play that they've shown this season, backed by a lack of intimidation from the Detroit crowd and the general atmosphere of the Joe.
- Combined Attack - The first line was red hot, but the second line couldn't find a goal if you handed it to them. Now the first line has been quiet for a couple of games, but the second line is back in business. If both lines can contribute offensively, this game gets a lot easier.
Blue Jackets Information:
|R.J. Umberger||Antoine Vermette||Kyle Wilson|
|Derek Dorsett||Samuel Pahlsson||Chris Clark|
|Andrew Murray||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Rostislav Klesla||Anton Stralman|
|Jan Hejda||Marc Methot|
|Mike Commodore||Fedor Tyutin|
|Henrik Zetterberg||Pavel Datsyuk||Tomas Holmstrom|
|Jiri Hudler||Valtteri Filppula||Johan Franzen|
|Dan Cleary||Drew Miller (?)||Todd Bertuzzi|
|Justin Abdelkader||Darren Helm||Patrick Eaves|
|Nicklas Lidstrom||Brad Stuart|
|Jonathan Ericsson||Brian Rafalski|
|Niklas Kronwall||Ruslan Salei|