Well, folks, it's been a somewhat quiet week, with just two games since Saturday. They have, however, not felt the wrath of the other teams in the West making up a lot of those games-in-hand. I know I was selling on the playoffs earlier this week, and one of the reasons was those games in hand. However, it should be noted that Columbus has upped their playoff chances to 14.2%, according to Sports Club Stats.
One other big aspect of the playoff push is that the Jackets--after tonight--will be road warriors. 12 of the 17 games left after tonight will be away from Columbus, including a trip to Western Canada. So, the road (no pun intended) will be tough.
Calgary comes in a bit weary, having played (and lost) in Nashville last night. They have been a pretty poor road team all season, and have lost two in a row and five of seven overall. Tonight's matchup, on paper at least, is a strength-versus-strength and weakness-versus-weakness matchup. Calgary's strength is scoring and PP, the Jackets's strength is defense and PK. Conversely, Calgary's weakness is defense and the PK, and the Jackets' weakness is scoring and the PP.
So, which will give?
In roster news, the Jackets look to be without Brandon Dubinsky and John Moore tonight, the former due to a "setback" with his injured knee experienced this morning during the morning skate, and the latter a healthy scratch. Look for Artem Anisimov to move up to the second line, and for Colton Gillies to draw back in on the fourth line. Moore draws out for Adrian Aucoin.
Sergei Bobrovsky and Miikka Kiprusoff are in the respective nets.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(12-12-6, 30 Points; 4th division, 10th conference)
|R.J. Umberger||Ryan Johansen||Nick Foligno|
|Matt Calvert||Artem Anisimov||Cam Atkinson|
|Vinny Prospal||Derick Brassard||Mark Letestu|
|Colton Gillies||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Fedor Tyutin||Jack Johnson|
|Nikita Nikitin||Dalton Prout|
|Tim Erixon||Adrian Aucoin|
(11-13-4, 26 Points; 4th Division, 14th Conference)
|Mike Cammalleri||Alex Tanguay||Jarome Iginla|
|Curtis Glencross||Matt Stajan||Lee Stempniak|
|Blake Comeau||Mikael Backlund||Jiri Hudler|
|Tim Jackman||Steve Begin||Brian McGrattan|
|Mark Giordano||Dennis Wideman|
|TJ Brodie||Jay Bouwmeester|
|Chris Butler||Cory Sarich|
02/07/13 - Calgary 4 at Columbus 3 - OT
03/22/13 - Calgary at Columbus
03/29/13 - Columbus at Calgary
Head to Head
Calgary Columbus 2.89 (9) GPG 2.13 (30) 3.32 (28) GAPG 2.53 (9) 22.0% (7) PP% 13.9% (27) 77.0% (28) PK% 86.6% (3) Curtis Glencross, 12 G leader Vinny Prospal, 9 Lee Stempniak, 15 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 13 Alex Tanguay, 23 Pts leader Vinny Prospal, 18 Brian McGrattan, 25 PIM leader Jared Boll, 79 3-8-2 Road/Home 9-4-5 3/21 @ Nashville, L 5-3 Last Game 3/19 vs Nashville, W 4-3 4-6-0 Last 10 7-0-3
- Special Teams - Don't look now, but the Jackets' PK is up to THIRD IN THE LEAGUE! I don't have much to add here. Their hot streak on the PK continues, with 32 of their last 33 PKs ending with no score. They haven't allowed a 5-on-4 goal in over a month. Now, if only the PP could catch up... The Jackets' PK will face a tough unit, as the Flames have PP goals in five of their last six games (6-for-20, 30%). Without Dubinsky, the Jackets will have their work cut out for them.
- Jarome - The trade deadline approaches, with the Flames again pretty far out of the playoff picture. Is this the year that Jarome Iginla moves on? There are rumors floating around (St. Louis comes to mind), but Iginla has a $7 million cap hit and a no movement clause. It's going to be interesting to see if a team is willing to pony up both the cash, and if Iginla is willing to move.
Who to Root For?
If you're on the playoff train full-speed, Sports Club Stats provides a daily list of whom to root for to best help the Jackets' cause. For tonight's games, we should be pulling for the following:
Columbus vs Calgary (+4.1%)
Anahiem vs Detroit (+0.6%)
Can the Jackets finish off the home stand with another win and/or another point? We shall see. With the slate of roadies coming up, they'll need every point at home that they can get!