Game 17 Preview: Wild in Columbus

Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets

November 15th, 2011 - 7:00pm EDT
Nationwide Arena- Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WWCD 102.5 FM- TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Hockey Wilderness
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This one is easy to break down- the game tonight is the final match of a 5-game roadie for the Wild, who made the trek from Anaheim yesterday. California wasn't kind to the Wild, going 0-2 against the Sharks and Kings, but they did beat the Ducks on Sunday. The Jackets were victorious on Saturday night, defeating the Winnipeg Jets at home. In simple terms, the Jackets are on a high, and are rested. The Wild on the other hand, should be a tired squad tonight. What the Jackets need to do is take advantage of any fatigue the Wild may be experiencing, otherwise a pissed-off Wild team-which sits first in their division-will make things ugly for the home squad.

The Jackets have yet to string two wins together, but tonight is a prime opportunity. This is the second game with both Carter and Wisniewski in the lineup together, and the pair of new arrivals (Letestu and Nikitin) have played well. Rookie Ryan Johansen has been the best forward for the Jackets recently, and will need to continue his run of strong play for the Jackets to emerge victorious.

The Jackets are actually a better team offensively, ranked higher than the Wild in goals per game. While nobody wants a track meet, tonight would be an excellent time for the Jackets to break out in the goals department.

Projected Lineups

(Note: Lines are based on combinations used in practice yesterday and are subject to change)

Columbus Blue Jackets

('11-'12: 3-12-1, 7 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Rick Nash
Jeff Carter
R.J. Umberger
Vinny Prospal
Mark Letestu
Ryan Johansen
Antoine Vermette
Samuel Pahlsson
Derek Dorsett
Matt Calvert
Derek MacKenzie
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
James Wisniewski Marc Methot
John Moore
Grant Clitsome

Steve Mason
Curtis Sanford

Minnesota Wild

('11-'12: 9-5-3, 21 Points; 1st Division, 3rd Conference)

Devin Setoguchi
Mikko Koivu
Dany Heatley
Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Matt Cullen
Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Johnson
Kyle Brodziak
Darroll Powe
Colton Gillies Warren Peters
Brad Staubitz

Clayton Stoner
Marek Zidlicky
Nick Schultz
Nate Prosser
Justin Falk
Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

By The Numbers ('11-'12 Season)

MIN - 2.18 G/G (28th)
CBJ - 2.25 G/G (24th)

MIN- 2.06 GA/G (2nd)
CBJ - 3.69 GA/G (30th)

Power Play
MIN - 12.1% (26th)
CBJ - 10.8% (28th)

Penalty Kill
MIN- 83.3% (14th)
CBJ - 73.7% (29th)

Game Notes:

  • The Wild will be without defenseman Marco Scandella, who suffered a concussion on Saturday.
  • Dany Heatley leads the team in scoring, with 11 points in 17 games.
  • The Wild are a physical team, featuring hit machine Cal Clutterbuck and tough guy Brad Staubitz. Over/under on what point in the game he and Boll throw down?
  • Vinny Prospal continues to lead the Jackets in scoring, with 14 points in 16 games.
  • Rick Nash only has four goals on the year, with Carter back as his center I'm smelling a goal-scoring binge for the big guy. Does it start tonight?
  • Derek MacKenzie and Ryan Johansen are the only "plus" players for the Jackets.
  • I'm willing to bet the defensive pairing of Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin stays together, at least until NikNik gets more acclimated.
  • It looks like Derick Brassard, Cody Bass and Aaron Johnson are the healthy scratches for the Jackets tonight.
  • At this point it looks like Mason vs. Backstrom in net, but we'll update in the game thread later today.

Go get 'em boys, make it two in a row!

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