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Game Preview #66 - Trying To Move Forward

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The Jackets are back home tonight, and try to shake off the shocking circumstances of last night in Dallas.

USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets

March 11, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 FM -- TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Winging It In Motown
SBN's Red Wings vs Blue Jackets coverage

I've been trying to write this preview for quite awhile now. Honestly, this is a really big game in terms of the standings. But damn it if I can get myself up to care. With the events of last night, even though I wasn't watching it live (rec league game), I just haven't been able to bring myself to turn off those emotions and focus on hockey.

One wonders how the Blue Jackets players are feeling.

In many ways, I'm like Abed from Community; sometimes I communicate best through strained movie allegories. I keep thinking of the scene at the end of A League of Their Own where the one player finds out her husband is dead in World War 2, and the locker room is torn up. Tom Hanks comes up and says, "We've still got a game to play." I always had a problem with that. There's no way you can play a game after something like that.

So, yeah. Ugh. I know this isn't quite the same, but in many ways it's worse. It happened right in front of the Jackets' bench. They all knew that something terrible had happened, and I'm sure those tense moments where everyone was waiting for some kind of news, praying for good... I just don't know how you come back from that less than 24 hours later.

But, athletes have focus. They're humans like the rest of us, but they also have to have a tremendous ability to shut things out and just play. I hope playing hockey tonight gives the Blue Jackets players a time of peace and respite from what must still be freshly weighing on their minds.

The Red Wings come in with their own injury issues (take a look at that lineup below), and they are having trouble scoring consistently (not surprising, given who they're missing). That said, they're still the Red Wings until proven otherwise.

No changes in the skating lineup for the Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky returns to the nets tonight.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(33-26-5, 71 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen Boone Jenner
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Nathan Horton
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Corey Tropp
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Blake Comeau
Nikita Nikitin James Wisniewski
Jack Johnson David Savard
Nick Schultz Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Detroit Red Wings
(29-22-13, 71 Points; 5th Division, 9th Conference)

Gustav Nyquist David Legwand Johan Franzen
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Tomas Jurco
Justin Abdelkader Cory Emmerton Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Todd Bertuzzi
Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brendan Smith Brian Lashoff
Jimmy Howard
Petr Mrazek

Season Series

10/15/13 - Columbus 1 at Detroit 2
03/11/14 - Detroit at Columbus
03/25/14 - Detroit at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Detroit Columbus
2.61 (18) GPG 2.84 (9)
2.67 (15) GAPG 2.77 (17)
17.9% (17) PP% 18.8% (14)
84.0% (7) PK% 81.8% (16)
Gustav Nyquist / Henrik Zetterberg, 16 G leader Ryan Johansen, 25
Niklas Kronwall, 33 A leader James Wisniewski, 33
Henrik Zetterberg, 48 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 49
Kyle Quincey, 72 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 90
17-11-4 Road/Home 18-11-2
3/9 @ NY RangersL 3-0 Last Game 3/10 @ Dallas, PPD
5-3-2 Last 10 6-3-1