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Game #35 Preview: End On A High Note

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The Blue Jackets have a chance to take the momentum from Saturday's big win, and apply it to the finish of their December to Remember.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets

December 31st, 2014 - 7:00pm
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WWCD 102.5 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Hockey Wilderness

The Jackets have been amazing this month. There's no other word for it. After looking like this season was dead and gone after the Thanksgiving holiday, the team has pulled up their heads and come up off the mat screaming, rattling off a 9-1-1 result for the month. Rebounding from their loss to Nashville with a flat out trouncing of the Bruins, this is their last game at home before hitting the road for the first week and a half of 2015. It's an opportunity to keep building on their success, but also an opportunity to leapfrog the Flyers in the division, at least temporarily, and put themselves a little closer to Toronto or Washington for a playoff spot - particularly since Columbus has at least two games in hand on both teams.

The bad news, of course, is that the Jackets' injury woes continue - in this case it's Cam Atkinson going officially on IR, though it sounds like he could return towards the end of the road trip, with Sean Collins called up to help keep bodies on the roster, though if yesterday's practice lines are any indication he's probably going to be munching popcorn tonight.

The Wild are going to be looking for a win. They've gone 3-4-3 in their last ten games, having finally gotten off the skids with a win against the Jets Monday night, and will want to try to keep their own fortunes rising as they look to get back into the Western Conference playoff picture.

On the plus side, the Wild are without Finnish phenom Mikael Granlund, while the Jackets get Sergei Bobrovsky back in net. If they can combine Bob's goaltending with the kind of all out, balls to the wall effort we saw Saturday? This game ought to be a pretty big firecracker to set off at midnight.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(15-16-3, 33 Points; 6th division, 13th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Jeremy Morin
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Corey Tropp
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Jack Skille
Adam Cracknell Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Minnesota Wild
(17-13-4, 38 Points; 5th Division, 10th Conference)

Zach Parise Mikko Koivu Jason Pominville
Nino Niederreiter Charlie Coyle Thomas Vanek
Matt Cooke Tyler Graovac Ryan Carter
Brett Sutter Kyle Brodziak Erik Haula
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella Christian Folin
Nate Prosser Stu Bickel
Darcy Kuemper
John Curry

Season Series

12/31/41 - Minnesota @ Columbus
1/19/15 - Columbus @ Minnesota

Head to Head Stats

Minnesota Columbus
2.85 (10) GPG 2.41 (24)
2.76 (21) GAPG 3.18 (27)
13.9% (26) PP% 24.0% (2)
85.4% (6) PK% 80.3% (18)
Nino Niederreiter, 14
G leader Nick Foligno, 17
Ryan Suter, 21 A leader Ryan Johansen, 22
Zach Parise, 28 Pts leader Nick Foligno / Ryan Johansen, 31
Marco Scandella, 42 PIM leader Jared Boll, 49
8-9-0 Road/Home 8-9-2
3-4-3 Last 10 8-1-1
12/29 v. Winnipeg, W 3-2 Last Game 12/27 vs. Boston, W 6-2