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Game Preview #57 - Get Busy Livin'...

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...or Get Busy Dyin'. That's damn right.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens

February 21, 2015 - 7:00 pm EST
Bell Centre - Montreal, Quebec
Radio - WWCD 102.5 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Eyes On The Prize

You probably recognize today's title. I've been waiting for a solid month or so to be able to completely define the rest of the Jackets' season. The moment I give up and leave them for dead, they spring back to life with a couple wins in a row. Since these teams last met--in the midst of an ugly four-game losing streak for Columbus that I was sure was the end--they've gone exactly .500 (8-8-0) including the loss to Montreal, and just won't go away. With Boston's struggles, nothing's outside the realm of possibility at this point.

But, they need to figure it out for sure, and start moving that way in a hurry. If you're going to make a playoff push, you can't keep going .500; that just won't cut it. Likewise, if you're not, going .500 is about the worst thing you can do if you're in the business of hoping for a franchise-altering draft pick.

Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.

At any rate, the Jackets had the Habs dead to rights when they met in January, and let them off the hook by taking bad penalties and allowing a pretty (at the time) putrid PP unit to light them up in the third period. That loss stung. The Habs are missing some key guys up front from a unit that doesn't score a ton anyway, so if the Jackets can be strong enough defensively you have to give them a puncher's chance in the same way that they won on Thursday. They have to be disciplined, and they have to continue to build on what's been working.

The Calvert--Dubinsky--Atkinson line has been hot of late, so here's hoping they can continue to cash in.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(26-27-3, 55 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Alexander Wennberg
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Marko Dano Artem Anisimov Nick Foligno
Corey Tropp Mark Letestu Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin Cody Goloubef
Curtis McElhinney
Anton Forsberg

Montreal Canadiens
(37-16-5, 79 Points; 1st Division,1st Conference)

Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Brendan Gallagher
Jiri Sekac Tomas Plekanec Lars Eller
Brandon Prust Jacob De La Rose Dale Weise
Michael Bournival Manny Malhotra Christian Thomas
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi Greg Pateryn
Carey Price
Dustin Tokarski

Season Series

MON - 1-0-0
CBJ - 0-1-0

01/14/15 - Montreal 3 at Columbus 2
02/21/15 - Columbus at Montreal
02/26/15 - Montreal at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Montreal Columbus
2.55 (23) GPG 2.59 (21)
2.21 (1) GAPG 3.07 (26)
16.4% (25) PP% 22.0% (6)
85.2% (6) PK% 80.8% (18)
Max Pacioretty, 27 G leader Nick Foligno, 22
P.K. Subban, 31 A leader Ryan Johansen, 31
Max Pacioretty, 50 Pts leader Nick Foligno / Ryan Johansen, 52
Brandon Prust, 102 PIM leader Scott Hartnell, 78
20-7-4 Home/Road 14-13-1
5-3-2 Last 10 5-5-0
2/19 vs. Florida, L 3-2 (SO) Last Game 2/19 @ Pittsburgh, W 2-1