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Game 71 Preview: Jackets take on the Wild

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Twelve games left in the season. Not much left to play for, but tonight on a personal level I hope we take it to Minny. Nothing against the team itself, I am just one of those CBJ fans who has a natural dislike for our expansion cousins. I was one of those fans who pouted when Minny made the playoffs first, etc. It's funny though, had the result of my coin toss gone the other way I would be saying the same thing about the Blue Jackets.....

The Wild defense is in rough shape. They are starting a rookie back there tonight and the team is also without starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The Jackets have some good news and bad news going into tonight's game- they are going to be without Rusty Klesla and Jan Hejda for the rest of the season, but Rick Nash makes his return tonight after suffering a sore back, followed by the stomach flu. Matty Garon gets the start tonight against Josh Harding.

Fearless Prediction: Rick Nash scores in his return from injury/illness.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Game Page: Wild vs Blue Jackets coverage

TSN Preview: Wild 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 haven't played since Monday, but the Wild played last night in Nashville. How do the 2000-01 expansion teams compare? Columbus is 275-356-33-62 with one playoff appearance; Minnesota is 327-284-55-59 with three playoff appearances.

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
Rick Nash
Andrew Murray
Samuel Pahlsson
Chris Clark
Derek Dorsett
Michael Blunden
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Marc Methot
Mike Commodore
Kris Russell
Nathan Paetsch
Anton Stralman

Steve Mason
Mathieu Garon

EXTRA: None

INJURED/SICK: Derek MacKenzie, Jan Hejda, Rostislav Klesla

Minnesota Wild

Andrew Brunette
Mikko Koivu
Antti Miettinen
Guillaume Latendresse
Andrew Ebbett
Martin Havlat
Cal Clutterbuck
James Sheppard
Owen Nolan
Robbie Earl
Casey Wellman
Chuck Kobasew

Cam Barker
Nick Schultz
Marek Zidlicky
John Scott
Jaime Sifers
Justin Falk

Josh Harding
Wade Dubielewicz