Game 23 Preview: Jackets limp into Montreal to face the Habs

Boy do the Jackets need to bounce back. After getting thoroughly trounced in New York last night, they hopped on a plane for Montreal, where they will take on the Canadiens tonight. The Rangers were a team that struggled to score, and the Jackets managed to change that. The Habs are another team that struggles to score-lightning can't strike twice can it? I sure hope not. The Jackets absolutely need to win this one, if nothing more than to keep pace in the tough Central Division.

Mathieu Garon will get the start, returning to Montreal to face the team that drafted him. Expect Kris Russell to get the start tonight. Props to fellow twitterer (?) @seventyeight for this tweet she posted last night:

OKAY. When Russell plays: 10-4-2, 3.125 goals/game /// When he does not: 2-3-1, 5.8 goals/game. Quit making him your scapegoat.

The numbers don't lie- the team has played better with Russ in the lineup. I'd like to see him more often-his skills with the puck, while they haven't exactly led to him putting up major points, are a major boost. I don't want to see Commie out on the powerplay again tonight. I'm thinking Russ goes in for Methot, who looked just awful last night. To be fair though, the whole team looked like crap outside of Boller.

The Habs still possess the talent to break out of their funk at any time, so I am not going to use the low-scoring excuse here. The Jackets need to use their size and physicality advantage to dominate the boards and the down-low play. With Georges Laraque out of the lineup, this should be easy to do.

Fearless Prediction- I'm never going to predict a shutout again-that's a promise. I will however predict that Garon will have a strong game in his return to his home province.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Habs Eyes On The Prize

Game Page: Blue Jackets vs Canadiens Coverage

TSN Preview: Blue Jackets vs Canadiens Preview

TV: FSN Ohio

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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets were to arrive in Montreal early this morning after playing last night in New York. They are expected to start Mathieu Garon in goal and perhaps insert defenseman Kris Russell. The injury-riddled Canadiens are struggling to score. They entered yesterday's action ranked 27th in goals, averaging 2.30.

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

Kristian Huselius
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger
Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
Jason Chimera Samuel Pahlsson
Michael Blunden
Raffi Torres
Derek MacKenzie
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Anton Stralman
Rostislav Klesla
Jan Hejda
Kris Russell
Mike Commodore
Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason

EXTRA: Marc Methot, Tom Sestito

INJURED: Fredrik Modin, Andrew Murray, Derek Dorsett

Montreal Canadiens

Michael Cammalleri
Scott Gomez
Glen Metropolit
Andrei Kostitsyn
Tomas Plekanec
Max Pacioretty
Travis Moen
Maxim Lapierre
Benoit Pouliot
Kyle Chipchura
Tom Pyatt
Ryan White
Jaroslav Spacek
Roman Hamrlik
Josh Gorges
Paul Mara
Marc-Andre Bergeron
Jay Leach
Carey Price
Jaroslav Halak

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