Game 34 Preview: Jackets get Wild

This is going to be brief- the Jackets need to win. Minny is on a tear, and Columbus very much isn't. The Wild, like Nashville, aren't a great team on paper- they make up for that by playing hard, physical hockey and they get timely scoring. Not to mention they have a great goaltender, one who finished behind ours in Vezina voting last year i may add.

I'm not a fan of making a trade just to shake things up, but what is there left to do? GM Scott Howson has put together a team that, again, on paper has all of the elements necessary to win, with the exception of one area. The forwards are a nice mix of snipers (Juice, Nasher); gritty forwards who can score (Vermette, Umby), playmakers (Voracek, Brass) and muckers (Torres, Pahlsson) just to name a few. We have a great goaltending tandem, but the defense needs help. Stralman has been great on the powerplay, as advertised. For that alone, he was a great add. Russ is coming into his own, and has been the best blueliner of late. The other four blueliners however, have not played well. Last season, Commie and Hejda were uber-reliable, steady minute-munchers who could hold the fort down. This year however, they are slow, plodding, and are missing assignments. Methot hasn't done much of anything, and Tyuts- well if he's not commiting a turnover he's horribly out of position. It's like he can't decide whether to play offense or focus on his defensive game. Regardless, a steady defenseman needs to be brought in. One who won't wow you, just somebody to settle things down. An older player would be great.

Or, and this would be the easiest move- the team can just work harder. I don't just mean turn it on when you are already down a goal or two, i mean start the game hard, set the tone, and continue for a full 60 minutes. The goals will come from hard work, and next thing you know- you've won the game.

Fearless Prediction: A solid 60 minute effort, for crying out loud this is the same team that was so great defensively last season, what happened? Did the fact that they are scoring now lead them to forget about their other duties? I predict they play hard, because of they don't, they will continue to get embarrassed.

Game Time: 8:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Game Page: Blue Jackets vs Wild Coverage

TSN Preview:Blue Jackets vs Wild Preview

TV: None

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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets, who lost to Nashville last night at home, are 1-2-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. After a 7-12-2 start, the Wild has been one of the NHL's hottest clubs the last month, going 8-2-1. The Wild has won three of the last four games in Xcel Energy Center.

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

Jason Chimera
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
Kristian Huselius
R.J. Umberger
Jakub Voracek
Andrew Murray Samuel Pahlsson
Jared Boll
Fredrik Modin
Derick Brassard
Raffi Torres

Fedor Tyutin Anton Stralman
Mike Commodore
Jan Hejda
Kris Russell
Marc Methot
Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason

EXTRA: Michael Blunden, Mathieu Roy

INJURED: Rostislav Klesla, Derek Dorsett

Minnesota Wild

Andrew Brunette
Mikko Koivu
Antti Miettinen
Chuck Kobasew
Eric Belanger
Cal Clutterbuck
Guillaume Latendresse
Kyle Brodziak
Martin Havlat
Derek Boogaard
Nathan Smith
James Sheppard
Greg Zanon
Nick Schultz
Marek Zidlicky
Kim Johnsson
Jaime Sifers
Shane Hnidy
Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

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