Game Preview #7 - Take It On the Road

It wasn't always pretty, but it was a solid effort last night against Dallas. Now comes another test: taking the effort they've shown in two straight home games onto the road in Minnesota.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild

January 29, 2013 - 8:00pm EST
XCel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minnesota
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Hockey Wilderness
SBNation Game Page

The Blue Jackets don't get much time to bask in the glow of their hard-fought, sometimes-ugly win over Dallas last night, as they turned around and headed straight to Minnesota for tonight's game. And, maybe that's not such a bad thing. They're facing a desperate team tonight coming off of three straight losses (0-2-1), including an OT loss to a tough St. Louis team. They're hungry.

The Jackets brought the same intensity that they had against Chicago, and against a lesser opponent it paid off. The Wild are a different animal, as they have a top line that is humming right now, as Zach Parise has dropped in with Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley and is clicking. Beyond that, however, the Wild aren't lighting up the scoreboard, and aren't exactly shutting anyone down defensively, even with newcomer Ryan Suter. As much as Nashville might miss him, he hasn't made his presence felt in the same way in Minnesota thus far.

The lack-luster defense for the Wild has trickled down to the goaltenders as well (sound familiar, Columbus?), as neither netminder has solid numbers thus far.

The Jackets will need to bring the same forechecking pressure they had last night. If they can force the issue with the Wild's shaky defense, they will be rewarded with chances. Then, of course, they have to find a way to bury those chances. Lastly, it would be nice to see actual scoring chances on the Power Play for Columbus. They were downright dreadful on the man advantage last night.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-3-1, 5 Points; 4th division, 11th conference)

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

Minnesota Wild
(2-2-1, 5 Points; 3rd Division, 7th Conference)

Zach Parise Mikko Koivu Dany Heatley
Pierre-Marc Bouchard Mikael Granlund Devin Setoguchi
Matt Cullen Kyle Brodziak Cal Clutterbuck
Torrey Mitchell Darroll Powe Zenon Konopka
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Clayton Stoner Tom Gilbert
Justin Falk Nate Prosser
Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Season Series

01/29/13 - Columbus at Minnesota
04/07/13 - Minnesota at Columbus
04/13/13 - Columbus at Minnesota

Head to Head

Minnesota Columbus
2.60 (19) GPG 1.67 (28)
3.00 (t17) GAPG 3.00 (t17)
20.8% (15) PP% 10.0% (26)
85.0% (10) PK% 87.0% (t4)
Zach Parise, 5 G leader Artem Anisimov / Vinny Prospal, 2
Mikko Koivu, 5 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 4
Zach Parise, 9 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 5
Zenon Konopka, 12 PIM leader Derek Dorsett, 21
2-1-0 Home/Road 1-2-0
1/27 @ St. Louis, L 5-4 (OT) Last Game 1/28 vs. Dallas, W 2-1
2-2-1 Last 10 2-3-1

Game Notes

  • Special Teams - The Jackets' PK has looked downright stifling at points in time. They gave up just their third goal last night, but when they're clicking they've been not even letting teams set up in the zone. Conversely, the Power Play has looked bad. Columbus doesn't seem to have an identity on the PP, as one night they bomb indiscriminate shots from the point, and the next they're trying to feather perfect passes all around the zone without getting any good shots on goal. At times last night, they had trouble getting the puck into the zone at all.
  • Cal Clusterf**k - We all know the history. The Jackets can't afford to be drawn into this clown's game tonight. They can be physical without being cheap or being baited by Mr. Defenseless.
  • Discipline - The Jackets have had a nice effort for two straight games, and their ability to stay out the box was getting better last night. They'll need to continue doing that, as the more ice time that top line (as the PP unit) is on the ice, the uglier the chances get.

Two wins in a row would be called a "winning streak"; it has happened before.

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