Game 38 Preview: Jackets limp into Dallas

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a god damned win! The Jackets are in the midst of the worst tail-spin of any NHL squad right now. Remember when they were at or near the top of the Western Conference standings? Now they are battling with Edmonton and Anaheim to stay out of the conference cellar.

Based on the Dispatch's projected lineups, it looks like the roster is is set up like we all predicted it would look like back in the summer. Vermy and Brass are the scoring line pivots, with Juice, Nasher, RJ and Jake as the scoring wings. Chimmer is checking with Sammy and Freddy, which makes a hell of a lot more sense than having Juice on that line. The fourth line will bring energy and physical play, no doubt. I'm pulling for Blunden to score that first goal, and i think if Boller and Raffi can create havoc and the guys can work the forecheck as well as they have of late, it could happen. Mase gets the start. I hope he took Hitch's comment about he and Garon being equal on the depth chart personally and re-affirms himself as the clear-cut number one.

The Stars are a good team- they can score and they bang bodies. The James Neal subplot is an interesting one, it will be fun to see how he is treated by the Jackets. I'm sure that given the chance he and Boller will chuck knuckles tonight. Brad Richards seems to have returned to his former high-scoring self, so he will need to be contained. Their defense is missing some pieces, but are serviceable. I remember watching Fortunus and Vishnevskiy when they were playing in the QMJHL, they are both good players and while they aren't household names yet, they have the potential to forge decent NHL careers, especially Vishnevskiy, a former first round pick. He's a natural Zubov replacement. Turco is in net for Dallas.

Fearless Prediction : A decent effort, the Jackets want to go into the break on a high note, so they can start fresh after Christmas. Mike Blunden gets a point.

Game Time: 8:30pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Defending Big D

Game Page: Blue Jackets vs Stars Coverage

TV: FSN Ohio

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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

It's hard to imagine a more fragile club in the NHL right now than the Blue Jackets. Getting out of the first period without trailing would be huge. The Blue Jackets are 5-1-1 in Dallas the past three seasons. If the Jackets lose tonight and Edmonton wins in Minnesota, they fall to last place in the Western Conference.

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
Fredrik Modin
Raffi Torres
Mike Blunden
Jared Boll

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

EXTRA: Andrew Murray

INJURED: Anton Stralman, Rostislav Klesla, Derek Dorsett

Dallas Stars

James Neal
Brad Richards
Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow
Tom Wandell
Jamie Benn
Steve Ott
Mike Ribeiro
Fabian Brunnstrom
Toby Petersen
Mike Modano
Krys Barch
Nicklas Grossman
Stephane Robidas
Karlis Skrastins
Maxime Fortunus
Jeff Woywitka
Ivan Vishnevskiy
Marty Turco
Alex Auld

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