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Game 68 Preview: Chelios Returns to the NHL Against the Jackets

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The Jackets looked pretty good in their game against the Ducks on Tuesday night, and they look to translate that level of play to home ice tonight when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers are without superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, but Niclas Bergfors has been playing quite well for the Birds since the deal with New Jersey. Of note tonight is the return of Chris Chelios to the NHL. The Thrashers called him up in advance of this game and he will make his debut tonight. I'm not expecting much from him.

Rick Nash is out again tonight with a lower-body injury, but Juice is back in the lineup. I like the look of the second line tonight-Juice and Mayorov flanking Vermy. I think it could make some noise. Having Brass and Jake together is never a bad thing. Matty Garon gets the start tonight.

Fearless Prediction: Chelios takes some stupid penalties, the Jackets capitalize and win with special teams.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Bird Watchers Anonymous

Game Page: Thrashers vs Blue Jackets coverage

TSN Preview: Thrashers vs Blue Jackets preview

TV: FSN

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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets have lost three in a row at home, tied for the longest skid of the season. The Thrashers traded franchise left winger Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey before the Olympic break. The first meeting was a slopfest, won 4-3 by the Blue Jackets in Atlanta on Nov.5.

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

R.J. Umberger
Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
Kristian Huselius
Antoine Vermette
Maksim Mayorov
Chris Clark
Samuel Pahlsson
Jared Boll
Michael Blunden
Andrew Murray
Derek Dorsett

Fedor Tyutin Anton Stralman
Mike Commodore
Jan Hejda
Kris Russell
Marc Methot

Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason

EXTRA: Derek MacKenzie, Nathan Paetsch

INJURED/SICK: Derek MacKenzie, Rick Nash, Rostislav Klesla

Atlanta Thrashers

Bryan Little
Nikolai Antropov
Niclas Bergfors
Clarke MacArthur
Rich Peverley
Maxim Afinogenov
Jim Slater
Todd White
Colby Armstrong
Slava Kozlov
Marty Reasoner
Evgeny Artyukhin

Ron Hainsey
Tobias Enstrom
Chris Chelios
Johnny Oduya
Pavel Kubina
Zach Bogosian

Johan Hedberg
Ondrej Pavelec