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Game Preview #14 - Charge It Up

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The Jackets have no time to stew over their OT loss in Carolina last night. The Lightning are waiting.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sport

Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 8, 2014 - 7:00 PM EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio Carolina
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Raw Charge

Ugh. There's just not much to like about this game. The Jackets are tired. The Lightning had a day off. The Jackets have lost seven in a row. The Lightning have won four in a row. The Jackets can't score. The Lightning score all too often.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed some negativity from me after last night's OT loss in Raleigh. I feel I should clarify. I still think this team--once it's healthy, if ever--is as good as almost any in the Eastern Conference. The problem that I see--and thus, the frustration--is that they're just not capable of beating anyone right now, and that by the time they get everyone back healthy and perhaps get into a groove, they may be so far behind in their division and playoff races that it may not matter.

I know it's early, and that the Jackets could win just one of these next two games and STILL be in better position than last year's club.

I also know, however, that we're currently just one point ahead of Buffalo for last in the Conference, and unlike last season, game #16 isn't going to ice a full roster that can start to climb like last year's club. They may be more than a quarter of the way through the season before everyone is healthy. Can we honestly just brush it off and say, "Oh, they'll be fine?"

They need to start winning games, or at least getting more points in losses.

Suffice it to say, I'm not optimistic tonight. The Lightning are loaded offensively, and though their defense is middle of the pack, the Jackets' offense is putting the fear of God into ANYone right now. It will be a battle of backup goalies, but the Jackets are going to have to play their most complete 60-minute game from top to bottom tonight to get a win, in my estimation. Having a stretch in a period where a team out-shoots you 14-1 (like last night's third period) is a good way to get embarrassed by this Lightning squad.

The Jackets made a roster move today in recalling Dana Tyrell from Springfield and sending Marko Dano back down. I think it's the right move. As the games have ramped up in intensity, it was clear that Dano just wasn't strong enough to compete at this level, and he needs "everyday minutes" in the AHL to develop. He'll be back someday, though, I'm fairly confident.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-8-1, 9 Points; 8th division, 15th conference)

Scott Hartnell Boone Jenner Cam Atkinson
Brian Gibbons Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Alexander Wennberg Jack Skille
Corey Tropp Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin David Savard
Tim Erixon James Wisniewski
Frederic St. Denis Dalton Prout
Anton Forsberg
Curtis McElhinney

Tampa Bay Lightning
(9-3-1, 19 Points; 1st Division, 2nd Conference)

Valtteri Filppula Steven Stamkos Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat Tyler Johnson Nikita Kucherov
Jonathan Drouin Vladislav Namestnikov Cedric Paquette
Brenden Morrow Brian Boyle J.T. Brown
Anton Stralman Matthew Carle
Jason Garrison Radko Gudas
Eric Brewer Andrej Sustr
Evgeni Nabokov
Ben Bishop

Season Series

11/08/14 - Tampa Bay at Columbus
12/06/14 - Columbus at Tampa Bay
01/31/15 - Columbus at Tampa Bay

Head to Head Stats

Tampa Bay Columbus
3.62 (2) GPG 2.46 (22)
2.54 (14) GAPG 3.38 (27)
24.4% (5) PP% 18.9% (16)
83.8% (11) PK% 79.6% (18)
Steven Stamkos, 8 G leader Nick Foligno, 6
Tyler Johnson, 13 A leader Scott Hartnell / Ryan Johansen, 9
Tyler Johnson, 15 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 14
Radko Gudas, 18 PIM leader Jared Boll, 28
3-2-0 Road/Home 2-4-0
7-3-0 Last 10 2-7-1
11/06 vs. Calgary, W 5-2 Last Game 11/07 @ Carolina, L 3-2 (OT)