Game 15 Preview: Take A Breath

Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 10, 2011 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Second City Hockey
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We've done all of the necessary debating of what should be done, what's gone wrong, who's to blame, and can it get any worse. And, we still don't really have any true answers to any of those.

The Jackets have had four days to lay low, practice, tweak their system, and get ready for Chicago. They made a minor roster move, and the fanbase collectively waits for what seems to be the follow-up move.

The Hawks are coming off of three straight losses--the last two in regulation--including a 3-0 shutout loss on Tuesday night at the hands of Ken Hitchcock and the St. Louis Blues. Perhaps Columbus can capitalize on that mojo?

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-11-1, 5 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Antoine Vermette Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal Derick Brassard Mark Letestu
Derek Dorsett Samuel Pahlsson Cody Bass
Matt Calvert Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin James Wisniewski
Marc Methot Grant Clitsome
John Moore Kris Russell

Steve Mason
Allen York

Chicago Blackhawks
(8-4-3, 19 Points; 1st Division, 3rd Conference)

Viktor Stalberg Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Daniel Carcillo Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell Marcus Kruger Michael Frolik
Jamal Mayers Andrew Brunette Rostislav Olesz

Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson Nick Leddy
John Scott Steve Montador
Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

Season Series

10/29/11 - Blue Jackets 2 at Blackhawks 5 - recap
11/10/11 - Blackhawks at Blue Jackets
12/26/11 - Blue Jackets at Blackhawks
01/10/12 - Blue Jackets at Blackhawks
02/18/12 - Blackhawks at Blue Jackets
03/20/12 - Blackhawks at Blue Jackets

By The Numbers

CHI - 2.93 G/G (9th)
CBJ - 2.21 G/G (t26th)

CHI - 2.87 GA/G (t20th)
CBJ - 3.71 GA/G (30th)

Power Play
CHI - 8.8% (30th)
CBJ - 9.2% (29th)

Penalty Kill
CHI - 89.5% (4th)
CBJ - 73.5% (28th)

Game Notes:

  • Debuts - Tonight marks the season debut for winger Jared Boll, and it marks the Jackets debut of forward Mark Letestu. For the former, it will be interesting to see if he can keep his cool and not throw the gloves down given his injury (broken thumb from, you guessed it, fighting) and can instead focus on bringing a physical energy. For the latter, I don't know what to expect of a guy who's been with the club for all of two days and is moving to the wing on a top-six line.
  • Power Play Woes - As bad as the Jackets' Power Play has been--and it's been bad--Chicago's has been worse. Chicago has taken a huge step back, and it's odd that they're struggling so much considering the weapons they have on the PP. The Jackets' shaky PK may catch a break tonight given the struggles of the Hawks' PP. Conversely, the Hawks' PK is solid, which will probably make the Jackets' PP work that much uglier.
  • Lines and Scratches - As much as Rick Nash is struggling a bit, I don't quite get the logic of putting him with two guys who are also struggling mightily. Umberger and Vermette have both really been underwhelming so far, and putting Nash with them doesn't make much sense. Ryan Johansen looks to be out for tonight as a healthy scratch. Not sure why, but at this point can you really make heads or tails of a lot of this?
  • Race to Score First - A great note from The Man Rob Mixer: "The key to beating the Blackhawks this season has been to get on the scoreboard before they do. Chicago is 5-0-1 when its scores the first goal, and 3-4-2 when the opposition opens the scoring. The Blackhawks are 0-2-1 when they trail after the first period." The Jackets have not demonstrated much of an ability to score first, but with the fresher legs perhaps they can force the issue.
  • Goaltending - Looks like Corey Crawford will go for the Hawks, even though he's started four of the last five and has lost his last two starts. Ray Emery's numbers haven't inspired a lot of confidence. Speaking of, Steve Mason should get an interesting reaction from the home fans when he is announced in the starting lineup. Just remember: Mark Dekanich is starting tomorrow night in Springfield. Mason is close to getting a breath, hopefully.
  • Fans in Stands - After last Thursday's Hoser Invasion at the hands of Maple Leafs fans (seriously, if you were in the barn, you knew that crowd was 50/50 at BEST), it will be interesting to see the split tonight. The Hawks travel notoriously well to Nationwide. Let's hope the Jackets can do enough to silence the Hawks fans tonight.
  • Crack Open A Cold One - Enjoy the game folks, as much as you can. Get it? Can? Of beer? Ugh. Sorry.

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