Game Preview #17: Remember the Titans

The Jackets have gone 1-5-1 since last playing these Red Wings, but the Winged Wheel is on an 0-2-2 stretch of their own. Who blinks first?

Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings

February 21, 2013 - 7:30pm EST
Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, Michigan
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Winging It In Motown
SBNation Game Page

First of all, after three straight road losses, I do have some good news: Cam Atkinson is officially off the IR list, and Nick Drazenovic is back to Springfield. There was much rejoicing.

Then there's the bad news: welcome to the IR, Brandon Dubinsky! Oof. This club is rowing the boat in circles when it comes to the injuries. Dubinsky's knee sprain will most likely keep him out for awhile; he will be re-evaluated in a week.

Now, let's go back a few weeks. Remember that night the Jackets played the Red Wings, and basically pimp-slapped them all over the ice for 60 minutes? Yeah, me too. That was great. My recap was titled: "Who Are These Guys, And Can They Come Back Please?" Since then, we've really only seen *that* team just once, last Monday against San Jose.

So, I'm calling on the Jackets to remember the titans they were in that game against Detroit, and to bring that back again tonight.

The Wings are reeling themselves, with a slew of injuries and a rash of inconsistency. They're having trouble keeping the puck out of their own net, and Jimmy Howard appears tired (and was also apparently mildly injured the other night). They have Jonas Gustavsson back from injury, but raise your hand if that lights your fire. Yeah, me either.

Howard has played in 14 of the Wings' 16 games, and his numbers are positively Mason-esque: 3.08 gaa, .897 save%. In his two starts against the Jackets, he's sporting a 3.36 gaa, .885 save%. He left the Wings' last game with an apparent injury, though he has been cleared to play going forward. No word on whether he gets the start tonight, but the guys over at Winging It In Motown seem to think he will.

So, with that, I say there's a chance to score some goals tonight. Make it happen, boys.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-10-2, 10 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Artem Anisimov Nick Foligno
Derek Dorsett Mark Letestu Vinny Prospal
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Jack Johnson Adrian Aucoin
John Moore James Wisniewski
Sergei Bobrovsky
Steve Mason

Detroit Red Wings
(7-6-3, 17 Points; 4th Division, 9th Conference)

Valtteri Filppula Henrik Zetterberg Damien Brunner
Tomas Tatar Pavel Datsyuk Daniel Cleary
Joakim Andersson Justin Abdelkader Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller Cory Emmerton Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Jakub Kindl Ian White
Kyle Quincey Brian Lashoff
Jimmy Howard
Jonas Gustavsson

Season Series

01/21/13 - Detroit 4 at Columbus 3 - SO
02/02/13 - Detroit 2 at Columbus 4
02/21/13 - Columbus at Detroit
03/09/13 - Detroit at Columbus
03/10/13 - Columbus at Detroit

Head to Head

Detroit Columbus
2.62 (18) GPG 2.19 (28)
3.00 (22) GAPG 3.12 (25)
13.5% (25) PP% 13.0% (28)
76.1% (24) PK% 81.2% (18)
Pavel Datsyuk, 8 G leader Vinny Prospal / Mark Letestu, 5
Henrik Zetterberg, 16 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 9
Henrik Zetterberg, 21 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 10
Jordin Tootoo, 32 PIM leader Jared Boll, 65
5-3-1 Home/Road 1-6-0
2/19 @ Nashville, L 4-3 (OT) Last Game 2/18 @ Anaheim, L 3-2
4-4-2 Last 10 2-7-1

Game Notes

  • Who Breaks the Streak? - These two teams combined in their last four games are 1-5-2, with the one win being the Jackets' beat-down of the Sharks last Monday. Both clubs have been blowing leads left and right. Both clubs have had suspect defense, streaky goaltending, and a non-existent Power Play. Both clubs have been re-shuffling the deck because of injuries. So, who puts it together and gets the win tonight?
  • Speaking of Power Plays... - The Jackets are just 2-for-21 () on the PP over the last five games, and those two goals came in that Sharks game that really defied all explanation across the board. Thankfully, the Wings haven't been much better, with just three PPGs in their last 21 tries (). This is not the Wings' PP from years-past, which may help the Jackets tonight. Which leads me to...
  • PK Woes - It's a Special Teams-themed bulleted list today! With the loss of Dubinsky, there's no doubt the Jackets' PK takes a huge hit as well. But, even before his injury, cracks were starting to form. The Jackets have allowed a PP goal in seven of their last nine games, and have only killed off 30 of 39 PPs in that span (). They've seen their success rate drop all the way down to 18th, where it once was in the top-10. This is not good times, especially given the propensity this team has shown for taking penalties.

A win tonight would give Columbus a 2-0-1 record against the Wings so far, with just two more to play. That would almost seal a winning record. Holy shit, man.

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