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Game Preview #12 - Jet Express

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The Jackets stop off for a quick one at home before finishing their road swing out West.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

There are no moral victories in professional sports. Last night showed us some good things... very good things, in fact. But, at the end of it all, the Jackets still lost, still got no points, and are still staring down the barrel of a 2-9-0 record. Thankfully, they get to go right back at it tonight to exorcise and demons left over from falling short last night.

At this point, we have no lineup information, as there was no morning skate for the Jackets and John Tortorella is yet to meet with the media. No updates at this point on Brandon Saad's availability, whether Fedor Tyutin will be back (my guess is YES) and whether Bob or CMac gets the pipes tonight (my guess is Curtis will go, but I know nothing and Bob has been pretty strong the past two outings). All of those grains of salt for my lineup below.

Here's another way to look at things, though. A win tonight would put Columbus at 3-2-0 under Tortorella. When he was hired, there were 75 games left. That means, 15 five-game bundles. If Columbus can average 3-2-0 for all 15 of those bundles, we'd be looking at 45-37-0. That would be 90 points and probably not a playoff spot, but just the same it gives you a picture of what "incremental progress" can do. And, I'd say we're seeing that right now.

But, much like the Revenge of the Nerds guys fixing up that worn down house, you've got to put one foot in front of the other / put your other foot down... down... down. You can only win one at a time. Need to win this one tonight, for sure.

The Jets are strong coming off of their first playoff appearance since moving to Winnipeg, and their six wins include victories over the Rangers, Blackhawks, and Wild. They aren't on top of the league in any one category (and their EV possession numbers are actually not that great), but they are solid in every area, including Special Teams. The Jackets did a good job minimizing the Caps' Power Play last night both in terms of opportunities and scoring chances, and that needs to continue tonight. It would be nice to see a pulse from the anemic-of-late Columbus Power Play, too. The Jackets have just two PPG in their last six games and are 2-for-21 in that span (after starting the season 6-for-21). In each of their losses under Torts, they've had chances with their PP to tie it in the third period, and have been unable to get anything going.

But, there's always optimism, folks! Columbus is officially under four goals allowed per game for the first time this season. They're officially back out of last place in goals allowed per game. Their PK, while still 30th, is officially above 70%. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed just nine goals in his past four starts, after allowing 23 in his first five. These are good signs, if nothing else. Crawl before you can walk.

Have a safe Halloween, everyone. Check those apples for razor blades.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-8-0, 4 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Brandon Dubinsky Ryan Johansen Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner William Karlsson Matt Calvert
Rene Bourque Gregory Campbell David Clarkson
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Cody Goloubef
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout
Curtis McElhinney
Sergei Bobrovsky

Winnipeg Jets
(25-14-8, 58 Points; 4th Division, 5th Conference)

Andrew Ladd Bryan Little Blake Wheeler
Matthieu Perreault Mark Scheifele Nikolaj Ehlers
Alex Burmistrov Adam Lowry Drew Stafford
Nicolas Petan Andrew Copp Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom Dustin Byfuglien
Ben Chiarot Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart Jacob Trouba
Ondrej Pavelec
Michael Hutchinson