Game 14: The Big Man Returns to Face the Sharks

The Jackets have returned to their winning ways after defeating the Caps on Sunday, but they face a tough test tonight at home against the Sharks and their powerful offense.

This will be a difficult game for a handful of reasons:

  • The Sharks are playing excellent hockey right now, led the way by Joe Thornton, Paddy Marleau and Dany Heatley. Evgeni Nabokov is also playing fantastic.
  • The Jackets are likely to not have Derick Brassard in the lineup, he was slashed on the hand last game and while his X-ray was negative, his hand is still sore and swollen. Derek MacKenzie was called up from Syracuse on an emergency basis.
  • Also not playing tonight is Kristian Huselius, who was"injured" in practice yesterday. He was moved to the third line in practice, i wonder if this is one of those situations where a healthy scratch is covered up as an "injury". Pure speculation on my part.
  • The Jackets, while winning their last game, are still not playing at a high level. They are giving up way too many chances, and Steve Mason still seems to be fighting the puck a bit and giving up juicy rebounds.

That said, the Jackets do have a major piece to their defense coming back tonight. Jan Hejda is making his return, and it couldn't have come soon enough. The team will finally have both Mike Commodore and Hejda in the lineup at the same time, and it will go a long way to solidifying the blueline, which has been in disarray thus far. It will be interesting to see if Hitch pairs them together, as they were for all of last season. They will be a great shutdown tandem, which can keep Thornton's line in check.

With Brassard and Juice out up front, I wonder if Filatov will be healthy enough to play. He would likely play in the top six (at least to start the game) if he is. Below I will take a guess on the lineup.

This game also marks the return to Nationwide of Manny Malhotra, hopefully game ops has something prepared for him.

Fearless Prediction- Low-scoring game, Filatov plays and takes advantage of Juice being out, and scores a goal.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Fear the Fin

Game Page: Sharks vs Blue Jackets coverage

TSN Preview: Sharks vs Blue Jackets preview

TV: FSN Ohio

Radio: WBNS-AM (1460); WWCD-FM (101.1)

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets must stay out of the penalty box and keep the Sharks' power play off the ice. The Sharks play at Detroit on Thursday, so they could be looking ahead. The Blue Jackets have won four of the past five against the Sharks in Nationwide. Former Blue Jackets center Manny Malhotra makes his first trip to Nationwide since joining San Jose as a free agent this past summer. Amid of slew of injuries, he's playing left wing on the No. 2 line.

Jackets Links:

Columbus Blue Jackets / Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule

Columbus Blue Jackets Roster / Columbus Blue Jackets Stats

Here are the lineups for tonight's tilt:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Raffi Torres
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
Nikita Filatov
R.J. Umberger
Jakub Voracek
Jason Chimera Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie
Michael Blunden
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Anton Stralman
Mike Commodore Jan Hejda
Marc Methot Rostislav Klesla

EXTRA: Kris Russell

INJURED: Fredrik Modin, Andrew Murray, Derick Brassard, Kristian Huselius

San Jose Sharks

Dany Heatley
Joe Thornton
Ryan Clowe
Manny Malhotra
Patrick Marleau
Benn Ferriero
Jed Ortmeyer
Scott Nichol
Jamie McGinn
Jody Shelley
Logan Couture
Brad Staubitz
Douglas Murray
Dan Boyle
Rob Blake
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Jason Demers
Kent Huskins
Evgeni Nabokov
Thomas Greiss

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