Quite simply put, these are the games that the Jackets have to win if they have any designs on saving their season. It's probably too late, but they need to put up or shut up at this point.
Scoring some goals would be nice. While I'm not one to complain about the fact that the new-look Jackets are much more structurally sound in their own zone, and seem to be better at getting out of their own zone, they flat out need to start scoring some goals. In three straight games, now, they've only scored one goal in each game through 60 minutes. A big problem has been the Power Play, which was humming early in the season and has since switched off completely. John Tortorella hinted as some potential new looks on the Power Play for tonight. Something's gotta change. The five minute major the other night was emblematic of the problem.
The Jackets will probably shuffle the lineup tonight, per Portzline, though no one really knows what they'll look like. Porty noted this morning his belief that Michael Chaput will get into the lineup, but where and for whom? I have no idea. Still no Fedor Tyutin, and the defense has been OK, so I don't expect any changes on the blue line. But, I'm not touching the forward lines below, because I just don't know.
The Panthers are riding a nice four-game winning streak, and they have been beating some good teams and playing some great defense along the way. The Jackets miss Roberto Luongo tonight, but it's not like Columbus has been lighting it up offensively no matter who they're playing. Gotta bring the hard hats tonight.
And, finally, just a note about Jaromir Jagr. I don't have too many platitudes that haven't already been said, but I still remember getting to see some amazing players in person in their primes: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, LeBron James... I could go on and on. I never saw Jagr when he was in his "prime" (but did see him when he was with the Devils, and he was *still* amazing to watch), but it's hard to argue that he's not still a great, great player even now. I'll let Porty give you all the specifics:
One day, while sitting in your rocking chair, sipping an ice tea against a wonderful sunset backdrop, your grandkids are going to ask if you ever saw one of the greats play. Jaromir Jagr would fit the category. He's 10th all-time in games played. He's fifth all-time in goals, trailing only Marcel Dione (by one), Brett Hull, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. He's sixth all-time in assists, trailing only Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque, Mark Messier and Gretzky. He's fourth all-time in points, trailing only Howe, Messier and Gretzky. At 43 years old, he leads the Panthers in scoring. This could be Jagr's penultimate trip to Nationwide.
This might be our last chance to see him in person. Enjoy it.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(10-16-0, 20 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)
|Boone Jenner||Ryan Johansen||Nick Foligno|
|Scott Hartnell||Alexander Wennberg||Brandon Saad|
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Cam Atkinson|
|Gregory Campbell||William Karlsson||Kerby Rychel|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Ryan Murray||Kevin Connauton|
|Justin Falk||Andrew Bodnarchuk|
( 12-9-4, 28 Points; 5th Division, 10th Conference)
|Brandon Pirri||Aleksander Barkov||Jaromir Jagr|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Vincent Trocheck||Reilly Smith|
|Connor Brickley||Dave Bolland||Quinton Howden|
|Jussi Jokinen||Derek MacKenzie||Logan Shaw|
|Brian Campbell||Willie Mitchell|
|Steve Kampfer||Aaron Ekblad|
|Erik Gudbranson||Dylan Olsen|