Game 75 Preview: Jackets Host the Isles

It's been a while since the Jackets played a game of this magnitude. There's more on the line tonight than there was on Thursday against Chicago, Tuesday against New Jersey, and essentially every game for the last month or so. Unfortunately I'm not talking about two teams duking it out for a playoff spot, rather I am referring to the battle between Columbus and Long Island for the higher draft pick in June.

I look at it this way- the Jackets are close to the playoffs. They aren't a rebuilding team. Let's look at things as if we lived in a perfect world for a moment- Nikita Filatov is back in North America. Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, Steve Mason, Kris Russell and Derek Dorsett are all healthy and ready for the 2010/2011 season. Throw the veterans like Nash, Vermette, Umberger, Huselius, Pahlsson, Clark and Murray into the mix and that's a very strong group of forwards.

The issue is on defense. If the Jackets can grab a guy like Cam Fowler- who is potentially NHL-ready- it would be a "free" way of adding to the defense overhaul. That, plus maybe add in a free agent signing like Dan Hamhuis (remember, perfect world...) and the Jackets are right back in it. A high pick this June is crucial to keep the Jackets within striking distance of the playoffs.

Matty Garon gets the start against (at this point) Dwayne Roloson. There are a handful of former Columbus farmhands playing for the Isles- Mark Flood, Tim Jackman and Dylan Reese. Remember- it's Fox Sports Ohio All Access night for those of you watching at home, and for the folks who are at Nationwide it's Huntington Hat Night. I'd love to get my hands on one to add to my CBJ hat collection, but alas, I am in Nova Scotia!

Fearless Prediction: The Jackets ride the emotional high of destroying the 'Hawks and beat the Isles.

Game Time: 7:00pm ET

Opponent's Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

Game Page: Islanders vs Blue Jackets coverage


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

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets will start Mathieu Garon on Saturday night against the New York Islanders. It will be the first start in a week for a goaltender riding a three-game winning streak.

Garon hasn't started many games in Nationwide Arena this season, but check out these numbers at home:

Starts: 9
Record: 6-0-3
Save percentage: .933
Goals against average: 1.90.

Garon also is 2-0 lifetime against the Islanders with a 0.43 GAA and .986 save percentage.

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
Andrew Murray
Samuel Pahlsson
Chris Clark
Derek Dorsett
Michael Blunden
Nathan Paetsch

Fedor Tyutin Marc Methot
Mike Commodore
Kris Russell
Grant Clitsome
Anton Stralman
Mathieu Garon
Steve Mason


INJURED/SICK: Derek MacKenzie, Jared Boll, Jan Hejda, Rostislav Klesla

New York Islanders

Matt Moulson
Josh Bailey
Kyle Okposo
Jeff Tambellini
John Tavares
Blake Comeau
Jon Sim
Frans Nielsen
Trent Hunter
Sean Bergenheim
Richard Park
Tim Jackman
Mark Streit
Bruno Gervais
Dylan Reese
Freddy Meyer
Jack Hillen
Mark Flood
Dwayne Roloson
Martin Biron

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