Game Preview #25 - Striving for Relevance

The Jackets kick off a home-and-home with the Red Wings tonight to end their same-division affiliation. Sad panda.

Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets

March 9, 2013 - 2:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Winging It In Motown
SBNation Game Page

Don't look now, but the Jackets have won three in a row, have points in five straight games, and have a 4-2-2 record in their last eight games. Not to be outdone, the Red Wings are 5-1-1 since the last time these two teams played. Some of the starch is out of this game, as Derek Dorsett is out for the rest of the season. So, we'll have to see if anyone steps into his vacuum if Jordin Tootoo elects to display his relevance.

And that's the play on words in the title. The Jackets are on a bit of a roll, and a win today would clinch the season series against Detroit. So, does all of that mean the Jackets are getting that much closer to relevance? One would hope. This home-and-home series today and tomorrow marks the end of an era. With realignment coming, these are the final two "division" games between these two. It would be nice for Columbus to close the book on a high note.

The Wings have been playing well since these teams last met; it's almost as if losing to the Jackets in the final 30 seconds lit a fire under their collective behinds. At any rate, the Jackets will have their hands full.

But, of late, Columbus has been up to the task. They've been wearing teams down, and getting good goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky in the past three games. If they keep it all up, there's no reason they can't hang with the Wings and possibly win yet again.

Nick Drazenovic has been recalled on an emergency basis today.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(8-12-4, 20 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Artem Anisimov Cam Atkinson
Vinny Prospal Mark Letestu Derick Brassard
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Tim Erixon Adrian Aucoin
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Steve Mason

Detroit Red Wings
(12-8-4, 28 Points; 2nd Division, 4th Conference)

Johan Franzen Henrik Zetterberg Damien Brunner
Justin Abdelkader Pavel Datsyuk Daniel Cleary
Tomas Tatar Joakim Andersson Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller Cory Emmerton Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl
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 3 at Detroit 2
03/09/13 - Detroit at Columbus
03/10/13 - Columbus at Detroit

Head to Head

Detroit Columbus
2.67 (18) GPG 2.21 (27)
2.46 (7) GAPG 2.88 (19)
14.7% (25) PP% 13.7% (28)
77.5% (25) PK% 85.4% (6)
Damien Brunner, 10 G leader Vinny Prospal, 9
Henrik Zetterberg, 20 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 12
Henrik Zetterberg, 26 Pts leader Vinny Prospal, 14
Jordin Tootoo, 58 PIM leader Jared Boll, 74
3-4-1 Road/Home 6-4-3
3/7 vs Edmonton, W 3-0 Last Game 3/7 vs Vancouver, W 2-1 (OT)
5-3-2 Last 10 4-4-2

Game Notes

  • Who's Streaking Now? - With the Blackhawks' regulation loss last night, the Jackets are now second in the league in consecutive games with a point (5). So, yeah, there's that.
  • Special Teams - The Jackets have surged to sixth in the league on the penalty kill, thanks in large part to their eight-game streak of not allowing a PP goal. Not coincidentally, they are 4-2-2 in those eight games. Imagine if the Jackets could generate a Power Play as effective as their PK has been. The Wings haven't been their usual selves on special teams this season.
  • No Dorse - The Jackets lose some grit, for sure, but they also lose one of their players who will go to bat for a teammate at any time against anyone. And, Dorse is also one of the Jackets' better PKers. His loss will be felt, for sure.

A win today gives the Jackets a 3-0-1 record against Detroit with one more game to play. I mean, just... think about that, man.

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