Game Preview #11 - Burnin' Down the House

The Jackets--minus Ryan Johansen--look to bounce back from a crummy finish on Tuesday as they continue their home stand against the Flames.

Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets

February 7, 2013 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Matchsticks and Gasoline
SBNation Game Page

Well, Columbus is on to game four of their six-game home-stand. Calgary comes calling tonight, a team that has somehow played just seven games on the season so far. WFT? This is literally only their third road game of the season. Methinks the back-end of their schedule is going to be packed.

At any rate, the Jackets' roster has a few shake-ups, the biggest of which was the demotion of Ryan Johansen back to Springfield. Whatever the reason, he's gone; Mark Letestu moves up to the third line (a promotion he's certainly earned, for whatever it's worth) with Derek MacKenzie moving to center the fourth line and Colton Gillies drawing back in. The top six looks to remain the same from Tuesday night.

On the blue-line, the Jackets get a much-needed boost from the return of Nikita Nikitin from injury. This should reunite the normal top pairing of Tyutin--Nikitin. David Savard is heading to the press box as the healthy scratch, and Cody Goloubef should slide to the third pairing with Nick Holden.

Sergei Bobrovsky is in net for Columbus.

The Flames are a team that, on paper, looks decent. They're scoring at a good clip, their PP unit is dangerous, and they have a good goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff. However, defensively they've been atrocious, giving up more goals per game than the Jackets have, if you can believe it. Their PK is God-awful, sitting at 29th in the league. And, on top of that, they lost Kiprusoff to an injury Tuesday night. So, score that one as a small victory (on paper, at least) for Columbus, as they won't see Kipper tonight. Leland Irving makes just his eighth NHL start in goal.

This Flames lineup can score, and we all know Jarome Iginla just LOVES lighting us up (more below). Columbus is going to have to be stout defensively, they're going to have to generate a LOT of scoring chances, and their PP unit is going to flat-out have to not suck tonight (ya know, unlike what we saw Tuesday). Test Irving early and often.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(3-6-1, 7 Points; 5th division, 14th conference)

Derick Brassard Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Derek Dorsett
Matt Calvert Mark Letestu Vinny Prospal
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Jack Johnson Tim Erixon
Nick Holden Cody Goloubef
Sergei Bobrovsky
Steve Mason

Calgary Flames
(2-3-2, 6 Points; 5th Division, 15th Conference)

Mike Cammalleri Alex Tanguay Jarome Iginla
Roman Cervenka Matt Stajan Jiri Hudler
Curtis Glencross Mikael Backlund Lee Stempniak
Steve Begin Blair Jones Blake Comeau
Mark Giordano Jay Bouwmeester
Dennis Wideman TJ Brodie
Chris Butler Derek Smith
Leland Irving
Daniel Taylor

Season Series

02/07/13 - Calgary at Columbus
03/22/13 - Calgary at Columbus
03/29/13 - Columbus at Calgary

Head to Head

Calgary Columbus
2.86 (13) GPG 1.90 (30)
3.29 (25) GAPG 3.10 (23)
26.7% (6) PP% 13.6% (24)
69.6% (29) PK% 84.2% (10)
Curtis Glencross, 4 G leader Artem Anisimov, 4
five tied, 4 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 7
Alex Tanguay, 7 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 8
Blair Jones, 6 PIM leader Jared Boll, 44
1-0-1 Road/Home 2-3-1
2/5 @ Detroit, W 4-1 Last Game 2/5 vs Los Angeles, L 4-2
2-3-2 Last 10 3-6-1

Game Notes

  • Special Teams - The Jackets' PP went goal-less, and looked pathetic in so doing, against the Kings. The Flames' PK is atrocious right now, and the Jackets simply HAVE to take advantage. Conversely, the Jackets' PK has been slipping a bit of late, though the Kings' fluky PPG the other night is tough luck. The Flames PP has been humming, however, so Columbus will have to be at the top of their game.
  • Jarome - I find myself wondering how much longer Jarome Iginla can hang on in Calgary. This season is still wide open, but how much longer can he hold out in Calgary waiting for a Cup? This team has been spinning its wheels for several years now, ever since they loaded up in 2009 and then fell flat. We here in Columbus know how it might feel to have to say goodbye to a guy like that; Iginla has been the franchise face in Calgary for 15 years! Iginla has played in 54 playoff games, but 26 of those games came in the one season they got within a game of the Cup (before the '04-'05 lockout). Four first-round exits after that, combined with no playoffs since 2009, have to make Iginla chomp at the bit to get a shot to play for the hardware. For his part against the Jackets, Iginla has been an absolute unstoppable force against Columbus: in 44 games, he has 24/25/49.
  • No Kipper? No Problem - The Jackets aren't intimidating any goaltenders right now, though tonight would be a good time to start. Leland Irving is making just his eighth career NHL start (ninth appearance). He's never faced Columbus before. He has a 3.19 gaa in his seven starts, and a .912 save %. The Jackets need to generate scoring chances early and often.

We did not see a consistent effort for 60 minutes Tuesday. Ryan Johansen got sent down. We'll see if any messages resonated with the team tonight.

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