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Game Preview #43 – Time To Pay The Tax Man

Columbus Blue Jackets at Colorado Avalanche

April 15, 2013 – 9:00pm EDT
Pepsi Center – Denver, Colorado
Radio – WBNS 97.1 – TV – Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Mile High Hockey
SBNation Game Page

[edit] I wrote the majority of the following lede earlier this morning before the awful news from Boston broke. Please accept my apologies if the timing of the post seemed a bit bad with no mention. Hope everyone is well. –Dan

Well, for those of us in the States, it’s Tax Day! Woo hoo (if you got a refund) and/or grumble-grumble-grumble (if you didn’t).

There’s that old adage that the only two things for certain in this life of ours are death and taxes. And that’s where I am right now. There are only a few things certain in the NHL, and one of them is that you always have that “trap” game when you least need it. The Avalanche are out of it. They have nothing to play for, technically. That said, they are always dangerous at home, if only because of the altitude.

This game HAS to be a win for Columbus if they want to make the playoffs. They need to gather a certain number of points (most likely AT LEAST eight in the last six games), and this one is one that they HAVE to win; Colorado is last in the conference.

That said, remember last season with two games left when Colorado HAD to win to stay in the playoff hunt, and the Jackets came into Denver and humbled them? Yeah, these “trap” games have a weird way of sneaking up on you.

In all seriousness, the Avs have been playing decently of late–2-0-1 in their last three games–and are coming off of a heroic last-second win over Vancouver. And, this team’s speed has always given Columbus fits. To say the Jackets may be tired is a bit of an understatement, as they’re playing their third game in four nights, two of which have been physically draining.

Add in to that that they will be without Artem Anisimov, who’s been one of their best two-way guys, and that only makes it tougher.

Oh yeah, this game is a MUST WIN. I’m going to keep saying it.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(19-16-7, 45 Points; 4th division, 10th conference)

Vinny Prospal Mark Letestu Marian Gaborik
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
R.J. Umberger Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Blake Comeau Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
James Wisniewski Adrian Aucoin

Sergei Bobrovsky
Michael Leighton

Colorado Avalanche
(14-22-6, 34 Points; 5th Division, 15th Conference)

Gabriel Landeskog Ryan O’Reilly Cody McLeod
John Mitchell Matt Duchene P.A. Parenteau
Jamie McGinn Paul Stastny David Jones
Patrick Bordeleau Brad Malone Chuck Kobasew

Matt Hunwick Erik Johnson
Jan Hejda Stefan Elliott
Greg Zanon Tyson Barrie

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Sami Aittokallio

Season Series

01/24/13 – Columbus 0 at Colorado 4
03/03/13 – Colorado 1 at Columbus 2 (OT)
04/15/13 – Columbus at Colorado

Head to Head

Colorado Columbus
2.36 (24) GPG 2.31 (28)
3.07 (26) GAPG 2.45 (11)
13.8% (26) PP% 12.8% (29)
80.8% (19) PK% 84.7% (8)
P.A. Parenteau / Matt Duchene, 16 G leader Marian Gaborik, 12
P.A. Parenteau, 24 A leader Vinny Prospal / Fedor Tyutin, 15
P.A. Parenteau, 40 Pts leader Vinny Prospal, 26
Cody McLeod, 77 PIM leader Jared Boll, 93
11-7-2 Home/Road 6-11-2
4/13 vs Vancouver, W 4-3 Last Game 4/13 @ Minnesota, W 3-2 (SO)
3-5-2 Last 10 6-3-1

Game Notes

  • Dubi Dubi Doo – He’s gotten back and played four games in April, and in those games he has five assists. Dubi hasn’t been scoring goals like perhaps we expected, but it’s hard not to notice what he’s done both defensively and in the assist column. He now has 1/13/14 in 23 games, which is solid in terms of the helper category. Considering the injuries and getting used to new teammates, all-in-all it’s turning into a nice contribution from Dubinsky.
  • Halley’s Comet – The last time we saw Colorado, the Jackets had just lost two games beyond regulation in a row, and were sitting at 5-12-4. They beat Colorado in OT, and that started an unbelievable run. Including that game, since that point they’ve gone 14-4-3, for 31 points in 21 games.

Just remember: it’s 3:25 PM on April 15, 2013…