Game 18: A Fresh Start- Jackets vs Ducks
Ok, let's forget about last game. It was a shit-kicking of historic proportions, as the Wings won 9-1 in Nationwide. There, that's all I am going to say about it. Let's look ahead to tonight's game where the Ducks come to town to face the Jackets. The Ducks definitely have Columbus' number at Nationwide, but this Jackets team is pissed off- or at least they better be. This is the recipe for a gritty, physical affair. These two teams are more similar than most think, when both teams are "on" they are tough, hard-checking, have balanced scoring and great goaltending. I fully expect Mathieu Garon to put on a show tonight, his first start at home.
Some pop has returned to the lineup in the form of Kristian Huselius- while he won't be a help to the major defensive zone issues the team has been having he will add offense to the lineup. He was struggling a bit before his injury, so he's looking to bounce back. Umby moves down with Brass and Jake to form the second line. I think it's clear from his numbers and the fact he hasn't been that noticeable in games that Umby isn't taking well to his constant shift in the lineup. He's the kind of guy who needs consistency to produce, and while he is versatile, he hasn't been able to find a comfort zone- leading to his less than impressive numbers.
While Juice returns to the lineup, Raffi and Sammy Pahlsson are out. Raffi took a puck to the chops and it basically exploded his upper jaw. He''s been put on IR. Sammy should be back next week. He's having one of those famous bursa-sac things removed.
I'm not sure why Mike Blunden hasn't been playing or practicing, but he's back in Sammy's spot as checking center tonight, between Chimmer and Boller. Boll has been moved up from the fourth line. It makes sense because while Boll is a great hitter, he isn't very fast, and that allows Dorsett to play with MacKenzie and Filatov. The line has some speed and skill without Boller on it now- it wouldn't surprise me to see that line pot one tonight.
Hopefully the guys have learned from the last game. I'm sure the coaches were thorough in their review of the players, highlighting the mistakes that were being made. I consider this a fresh start to the season, last game was the apex of a bad chapter, a chapter full of poor play, missed assignments and lack of energy. Let's start the new chapter with a CBJ-style victory against the Ducks!
Fearless Prediction: Victory, that is all.
Opponent's Blog: Anaheim Calling
Game Page: Ducks vs Blue Jackets Coverage
TSN Preview: Ducks vs Blue Jackets Preview
TV: FSN Ohio
Radio: WBNS-AM (1460); WWCD-FM (101.1)
More after the jump...
From the Columbus Dispatch:
The Ducks have won six of the past seven meetings in Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets beat the Ducks 6-4 on Oct. 24 in Anaheim. The Ducks play in Detroit on Saturday, so starting goaltender Jonas Hiller could get a break tonight.
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||Michael Blunden||Jared Boll|
|Nikita Filatov || Derek MacKenzie || Derek Dorsett |
|Fedor Tyutin||Anton Stralman|
|Rostislav Klesla ||Jan Hejda |
|Marc Methot||Kris Russell|
|EXTRA: Mike Commodore|
|INJURED: Fredrik Modin, Andrew Murray, Raffi Torres, Pahlsson|
|Bobby Ryan || Ryan Getzlaf ||Corey Perry |
|Joffrey Lupul || Saku Koivu || Teemu Selanne |
|Mike Brown ||Todd Marchant ||Petteri Nokelainen |
|Evgeny Artyukhin ||Ryan Carter || George Parros |
| Scott Niedermayer || Nick Boynton |
|Ryan Whitney || James Wisniewski |
| Brendan Mikkelson ||Steve Eminger |
| Jean-Sebastien Giguere|
| Jonas Hiller|