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Game Preview: Last Dance at the Joe

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Columbus looks to get back to winning against a very bad team out on the road.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Detroit Red Wings
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 7:30 EST
Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: WBNS FM
Game Faceoff

When I first started watching hockey, back when the Blue Jackets were formed, the Red Wings were the class of the league. With players like Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Federov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman ... man, there was nothing like seeing the Wings play, even as they skated rings around Columbus and usually smacked them in the teeth. The Wings were what I hoped Columbus could become someday. The Jackets haven’t gotten there yet, but we have a chance to make some noise the next few years.

The Red Wings played their games at Joe Louis Arena. The Joe was revered among Wings fans, even though most acknowledged that it was terrible. One of my collegiate roommates was from Detroit and spoke about the Joe as being “a hellhole, but our hellhole.” It has hosted many of the NHL’s greatest, and is spoken in the same breath as the Boston Garden, MSG, and the Staples Center. Tonight marks the Blue Jackets’ last visit to the iconic barn.

It is one of my biggest regrets in sports that I never got to see it, even once.

Tonight, the Blue Jackets look to get back on the right foot after a disappointing weekend that saw them fall to the Penguins in an emotional game before being absolutely dismantled at home by the New Jersey Devils, who continue to play the most annoying style of hockey ever created in human history, and probably violated the Geneva Convention in its level of unwatchability, especially in person. The Jackets posted a near 60% CF%, but were shut down for much of the game the Devils capitalized on every bounce and every mistake the Jackets made.

But I digress.

The Red Wings are bad this season. This has to be the first time the Jackets have ever been 18 points ahead of them in the standings, right? Its a mystifying season, and it’s more than likely going to see the Wings’ astonishing playoff streak that started the year after I was born end with a thud. The Jackets are on pace to finish with more points than the Red Wings for the first time in their history.

The Jackets will likely get Josh Anderson back tonight, who missed Saturday’s game with an illness. He did return to practice yesterday, which is an encouraging sign. David Savard still remains out with back spasms, though he did skate by himself yesterday.

As for goaltending, I expect to see Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes, but nothing would surprise me. The goaltending has been so terrible of late, there needs to be some sort of shakeup, especially considering the Jackets have given up 4+ goals in each of the last six games, which absolutely horrific. We’ll see what happens.

Go Jackets. Let’s get one last win in the Joe.

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Ryan Murray
Scott Harrington Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Detroit Red Wings

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Dylan Larkin
Andreas Athanasiou Darren Helm Thoman Vanek
Steve Ott Luke Glendening Justin Abdelkader
Dan DeKeyser Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson Xavier Ouellet
Brendan Smith Nick Jensen
Petr Mrazek
Jared Coreau