Oh, how the tables have turned! Well, OK, not really, but the Jackets are currently riding an eight-game points streak, whereas the Blackhawks are riding a two-game losing streak. So, there that is.
Nevermind the 20 points that separate the two teams in the standings. These aren't the droids you're looking for.
News out of Columbus is the Nikita Nikitin may not play tonight due to an unspecified injury. Rob Mixer reports that Nikitin practiced for a couple of minutes this morning, but left the ice early. Doesn't sound good. Cody Goloubef got the emergency recall yesterday and would draw in for Niki6 on the third pairing. For Chicago, they're missing Patrick Sharp from their second line, but that hasn't slowed down Patrick Kane at all.
Sergei Bobrovsky and Corey Crawford will be in the nets tonight.
Also of note: this is the final matchup of the season between these two teams, and thus their last divisional matchup. Since the Jackets are (presumably) moving East next year and the Hawks are staying in the West, thankfully this might be one of the last times we see an invasion of bandwagoners at Nationwide tonight. This brings me happiness.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(10-12-5, 25 Points; 5th division, 13th conference)
|R.J. Umberger||Ryan Johansen||Nick Foligno|
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Cam Atkinson|
|Vinny Prospal||Derick Brassard||Mark Letestu|
|Colton Gillies||Nick Drazenovic||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Jack Johnson|
|Tim Erixon||Adrian Aucoin|
|Cody Goloubef||Dalton Prout|
(21-2-3, 45 Points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Marian Hossa|
|Jimmy Hayes||Dave Bolland||Patrick Kane|
|Bryan Bickell||Andrew Shaw||Viktor Stalberg|
|Daniel Carcillo||Marcus Kruger||Michael Frolik|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook|
|Johnny Oduya||Niklas Hjalmarsson|
|Nick Leddy||Michal Rozsival|
Head to Head
Chicago Columbus 3.15 (6) GPG 2.18 (28) 2.12 (2) GAPG 2.67 (13) 18.1% (14) PP% 13.0% (29) 84.4% (6) PK% 86.0% (5) Patrick Kane, 14 G leader Vinny Prospal, 9 Patrick Kane, 16 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 13 Patrick Kane, 30 Pts leader Vinny Prospal, 15 Brandon Bollig, 40 PIM leader Jared Boll, 74 10-1-2 Road/Home 7-4-4 3/10 vs Edmonton, L 6-5 Last Game 3/12 vs. Vancouver, L 2-1 (SO) 8-2-0 Last 10 5-2-3
- How Good Has Bob Been in March? - Well, the answer is: pretty damn good. In six appearances (five starts), Bob has a 5-0-1 record, is averaging 60:07 in ice time, has a 0.83 gaa (!!), and has a save percentage of .970. Let that sink in for a minute. Yes, that's only six games, but good God, when was the last time we saw a run like that? I don't remember Steve Mason even having a streak like that during his Calder season. Interestingly enough, this is his first start against the Blackhawks of the season. To his credit, Mason played well against them in the previous three games.
- PK Time - The Jackets' PK is now top-five in the NHL, thanks to their 28-of-29 streak. The Blackhawks' PP unit isn't up where you'd expect it to be, but it's always flush with skill, so they'll need to ratchet up the intensity. Vancouver scored a goal just a second or two after a PK ended the other night, so that's one caveat to add to the streak.
This is it. No more Chelsea Dagger. No more Blackhawks fans coming to our building to talk about how terrible we are, seemingly oblivious that, pre-Kane-and-Toews they were a sub-60-point tire fire back in 2004. No more Viktor Stalberg going on insane six-game season-long runs against us. Let's close out this divisional matchup the right way, boys! Keep that point streak going!