December 6, 2014 - 7:00 PM EST
Amalie Arena - Tampa, Florida Carolina
Radio - WWCD 102.5 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Raw Charge
First and foremost, I have to ask the rhetorical question: if the Jackets play a game on the road, and nobody in Columbus watches it, does it actually happen? I suspect most of you will be watching a certain football game this evening, so perhaps it's not a bad thing that the Jackets are playing the best team in the league at the same time. I mean, if it's like that last game with Tampa, will you be sad to have missed it? I'm not even an OSU fan, and I'm pretty sure I'll be watching more of their football game than this hockey game.
As bad as Columbus has been, in the last 11 games since playing the Lightning, they are a modest 4-6-1, which, compared to the rest of the season, isn't half bad. That said, that last game... oh man, that first period still gives me nightmares. I mean, damn, man. Damn. That said, Bobrovsky, man. Bobrovsky. He was nowhere to be found that last time, and in his last two games he's stopped 76 of 80 shots (.950 sv%). So, there's that.
The flip side of that stat, however, is that the Jackets gave up 80 frickin' shots to Florida in two games, including 55 on Thursday. !!!!! The Lightning are a completely different offensive animal, so if that level of shots happened again, safe to say Columbus is giving up more than three goals and not walking away with a win in the skills competition.
To that end, Todd Richards has made some changes, most notably the return of Tim Erixon. That, however, is the one move that makes sense. These lines... I really don't even know what to say. Boone Jenner and Kerby Rychel played very, very well together. So, it only makes sense to break them up. Nick Foligno is your best goal scorer. So, it only makes sense to move him to center and neuter some of his offensive game. I've no idea what Ryan Johansen has done to earn a spot in the doghouse, but he's clearly there.
I've been not so much an HCTR defender or apologist, but more just a "live and let live" kind of attitude. That said, some of these changes, to me, are bordering on indefensible. They make almost no sense. Granted, I don't see what they see, but at first glance I'm left with a hearty WTF feeling.
So, there's that. Here comes the train...
Columbus Blue Jackets
(8-15-2, 18 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)
|Scott Hartnell||Nick Foligno||Brian Gibbons|
|Kerby Rychel||Ryan Johansen||Jack Skille|
|Matt Calvert||Boone Jenner||Cam Atkinson|
|Corey Tropp||Michael Chaput||Jared Boll|
|Jordan Leopold||Dalton Prout|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Tim Erixon||James Wisniewski|
Tampa Bay Lightning
(18-6-3, 39 Points; 1st Division, 1st Conference)
|Alex Killorn||Steven Stamkos||Ryan Callahan|
|Ondrej Palat||Tyler Johnson||Nikita Kucherov|
|Cedric Paquette||Valtteri Filppula||Brett Connolly|
|Jonathan Drouin||Brian Boyle||Brenden Morrow|
|Victor Hedman||Anton Stralman|
|Jason Garrison||Andrej Sustr|
|Matthew Carle||Radko Gudas|
11/08/14 - Tampa Bay 7 at Columbus 4
12/06/14 - Columbus at Tampa Bay
01/31/15 - Columbus at Tampa Bay
Head to Head Stats
|3.56 (1)||GPG||2.28 (26)|
|2.44 (9)||GAPG||3.44 (29)|
|23.2% (5)||PP%||21.7% (8)|
|80.7% (15)||PK%||75.8% (25)|
|Steven Stamkos, 16||G leader||Nick Foligno, 11|
|Tyler Johnson, 20||A leader||Ryan Johansen, 16|
|Steven Stamkos, 32||Pts leader||Ryan Johansen, 25|
|Radko Gudas, 32||PIM leader||Jared Boll, 42|
|12/04 vs. Buffalo, W 5-0||Last Game||12/04 @ Florida, W 4-3 (SO)|