Game 35 Preview: Desert Dogs invade Columbus

I've got to admit, watching the Jackets tumble down the standings is no fun at all. Not to say that I am a fair-weather fan- because I will be loyal to this team no matter what- but I'd be lying if I said it's difficult to find the energy to be passionate about the team right now.

The pieces are in place to win. The system is in place to win. The schedule has favored the Jackets so far this season, at least on paper, but they can't beat the teams they are supposed to. If they could only give a total effort, they might still be at the top of the standings where they were in October.

Tonight's game sees some interesting line combinations- the Dispatch is reporting that the top line will consist of Umby, Chimmer and Nasher, with Chimmer playing center. The second line has the "Killer Vees" reunited, a combination of Jake and Vermy, who started the season out great together. The third line, the " Tre-Kroner" line has the three Swedish forwards playing together, while the fourth line see Brass buried between Murr-Dogg and Boller. Interesting to say the least. It's obvious that the top line consists of the three forwards who are playing the best right now. Mase gets the start.

EDIT: Looks like Hitch is going with Garon tonight, interesting move.

Phoenix has been a tough play at home, but they played last night, shit-kicking the Leafs in Toronto. This could go either way, either the 'Yotes build off their momentum or they will show up fatigued. My guess is that with their sound defensive system they will still be fresh, and the Jackets need to be ready for that. To ensure a victory, the Jackets need to set the tone early, not fall into the trap that Phoenix will set. The first goal or two will be crucial tonight.

Fearless Prediction :I'm not going to predict a damn thing tonight. I am going to watch the game, and hope for a win.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Five For Howling

Game Page: Coyotes vs Blue Jackets Coverage

TSN Preview: Coyotes vs Blue Jackets Preview

TV: FSN Ohio

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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Anybody remember the last time the Blue Jackets established a forecheck? The Jackets won 2-0 in Phoenix on Oct. 10, but the Coyotes got even Oct. 28, a 4-1 victory in Nationwide. Phoenix has won the past four games in Nationwide, outscoring the Blue Jackets 16-7. Phoenix won 6-3 last night at Toronto.

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

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

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

EXTRA: Michael Blunden, Marc Methot

INJURED: Rostislav Klesla, Derek Dorsett

Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan
Matthew Lombardi
Scottie Upshall
Petr Prucha
Martin Hanzal
Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt
Robert Lang
Peter Mueller
Vernon Fiddler
Daniel Winnik
Lauri Korpikoski
Zbynek Michalek
James Vandermeer
Keith Yandle
Ed Jovanovski
Adrian Aucoin
Sami Lepisto
Jason LaBarbera
Ilya Bryzgalov

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