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Game Preview #3 - A Tough Task For Three In A Row

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The Blue Jackets look to start the season 3-0-0 with a hungry Dallas Stars team coming to town.

Kirk Irwin

Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets

October 14, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Defending Big D

"We're going to get a hungry team."

So said Jackets' coach Todd Richards after practice on Monday. Richards knows of what he speaks. The Jackets just three years ago entered the season with the highest of expectations, having just had a summer of perceived success by adding Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski, Vinny Prospal, and Radek Martinek amongst others. Richards was an assistant on that coaching staff, and so when that team started 0-7-1, he knew all about desperation.

The Stars are expected to compete in a stacked Central division, after adding Jason Spezza to their core of young, amazing offensive talent. Suffice it to say, then, that when coach Linday Ruff called out his best players, saying in effect that those guys needed to be their best players, it was out of that place of desperation. The Stars just haven't scored through their first two games. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have no points and are a collective -6, and Spezza has just one assist thus far. The other night, Nashville clogged up the middle and frustrated the speed of the Stars top six.

And, therein lies the plan for the Jackets. At times the Rangers' speed on Saturday was overwhelming. That said, the Jackets did a good job to mitigate that speed, and have been working on breaking out of their own zone with more speed themselves to counter. They spent a good chunk of Monday's practice working on breakouts.

The Stars are at their best when they get time and space to use their speed. The Jackets can't let them have it. They need to stay disciplined and not give the Stars ample Power Play time to get their big guns going offensively. And, frankly, they need to get more shots on Kari Lehtonen. They managed just 24 shots on the Rangers' net the other night, and that may not be good enough against a better goaltender than Cam Talbot.

I'll be in the press box tonight, and am looking forward to seeing the turnout now that it's not opening night and it's a rainy Tuesday. Let's go, 5th Line!

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-0-0, 4 Points; 2nd division, 4th conference)

Scott Hartnell Artem Anisimov Alexander Wennberg
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Marko Dano
Jack Skille Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Tim Erixon James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Dallas Stars
(0-1-1, 1 Point; 7th Division, 13th Conference)

Jamie Benn Tyler Seguin Cody Eakin
Patrick Eaves Jason Spezza Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel Vernon Fiddler Ryan Garbutt
Erik Cole Shawn Horcoff Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski Trevor Daley
Brenden Dillon Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth Jamie Oleksiak
Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

Season Series

10/14/14 - Dallas at Columbus
01/06/15 - Columbus at Dallas

Head to Head Stats

Dallas Columbus
1.50 (26) GPG 4.00 (7)
3.00 (15) GAPG 1.50 (5)
14.3% (20) PP% 12.5% (21)
87.5% (14) PK% 100.0% (3)
three tied, 1 G leader Cam Atkinson, 3
Ryan Garbutt, 2 A leader Scott Hartnell / Ryan Johansen, 3
three tied, 2 Pts leader four tied, 3
Antoine Roussel, 14 PIM leader Jack Skille, 5
0-1-0 Road/Home 1-0-0
0-1-1 Last 10 2-0-0
10/11 @ Nashville, L 4-1 Last Game 10/11 vs. NY RangersW 5-2