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Game 34 Preview: Ho Ho Ho

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Didn't we just play these guys?

The Jackets look for revenge tonight on home ice against the Vancouver Canucks, a team they lost in overtime to last Wednesday. That game was the Ryan Kesler show, as he scored all three of Vancouver's goals. The Jackets did a great job of shutting down the twins, but the depth of the Canucks-my pick for Stanley Cup champs-was too much for the Jackets.

Tonight the Jackets benefit from home ice advantage- last change, faceoff lead and the fact that current number one goalie Mathieu Garon is lights-out in Nationwide. This will no doubt be a physical affair, and the Jackets need to set the tone early..

Essentials:

Game Time: 7:00 pm EST
TV: FSOhio
Radio: 102.5 WWCD-FM
Canucks vs Blue Jackets coverage
Opponent's Blog: Nucks Misconduct

The Canucks are 7-1-2 in their last ten games, and have the league's top-ranked powerplay. Their penalty kill is ranked fifth. For the Jackets to come away with two points, they will have to stay out of the box. The Jackets have shown some recent success on the powerplay, but it remains locked in as the 29th-best in the league. Scoring the first goal and maintaining pressure five on five is important for Columbus.

Look for the same forward lines as last game, a 3-1 win over Calgary. The top line of Juice, Vermmy and Nasher weren't as noticeable, but their chemistry is undeniable. I look for a big game from that unit tonight. The second line of Umby playing with the dynamic duo of Brass and Jake was the team's best line against the Flames, and here's hoping that Jake's highlight-reel goal was the start of a scoring binge. The checking line of Pahlsson flanked by Moreau and Dorsett will be busy tonight, likely lining up against the twins. The fourth line sees Kyle Wilson centering the Plymouth rocks.

I mentioned Vancouver's depth before- they have a little bit of everything distributed throughout the lineup. I especially like the third line of Torres-Malhotra-Hansen. That line can check, has speed and can of course supply offense. When the Sedin and Kesler lines aren't out there, the Canucks are still dangerous. They also have impressive depth on the blueline. The general thought is that Cory Schneider will get the start in goal.

Keys To The Game:

  • Stay out of the box- as I mentioned, the Canucks have the league's best powerplay. The Jackets must prevent Vancouver from going a man up.
  • Bang the body - The Jackets need to be the more physical team tonight. The Plymouth rocks (Boll and Sestito, teammates with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL) are going to continue hitting everything in sight and provide energy.
  • Matty in the Cage - Garon will need to stand on his head...again. He will no doubt see plenty of rubber and some big saves will give the team the confidence it needs to win.

Blue Jackets Information:

Team Page Schedule
Roster Stats

Columbus Blue Jackets

Kristian Huselius Antoine Vermette Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Jakub Voracek
Ethan Moreau Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Tom Sestito Kyle Wilson
Jared Boll


Jan Hejda Fedor Tyutin
Rostislav Klesla Marc Methot
Mike Commodore Kris Russell


Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason


Vancouver Canucks

Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin
Alexandre Burrows
Jeff Tambellini Ryan Kesler
Mikael Samuelsson
Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra
Raffi Torres
Tanner Glass
Craig Conroy Tim Jackman


Alexander Edler
Christian Ehrhoff
Dan Hamhuis
Kevin Bieksa
Keith Ballard
Andrew Alberts


Corey Schneider
Roberto Luongo