directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Phoenix Coyotes @ Columbus Blue Jackets 10/10/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Phoenix Coyotes @ Columbus Blue Jackets 10/10/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets




Phoenix Coyotes

Doan Kapanan Vrbata
Carcillo Reinprecht York
Winnik Hanzal Weller
Tjarnqvist Zigomanis Mueller

Ballard Boyton
Meyer Jovanovski
Jones Morris


Game Notes

Both teams are 1-1 after two games. Both teams haven't played since Tuesdays. Both teams have been picked by the "experts" to finish last in their respective divisions. Both teams probably look at this game as a "must win" to get off to good starts.

In its two games at home Phoenix has scored 4 goals and given up 5. The Jackets have played one at home and one on the road scoring 6 and giving up 3.

The good news for the Jackets is that Michael Peca will play his first game tonight. According to the Dispatch Ken Hitchock is ready for him:

"You cannot have enough competitive players on your team, and we're adding another one to our lineup," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "On smarts alone, he's ahead of most guys in the NHL."

With Peca back in the lineup that means Hitch will be going with 12 forwards and 6 defensemen. The Dispatch thinks that Wescott will be the scratch tonight although I'm not quite as certain. I think it will either be he, Hejda or Russell.

Modin has been moved to center for tonight. He played a little bit of center last year with mixed results. Modin and Nash give that line a big physical presence. Vyborny is the play maker who can feed either as they are both shoot first, pass second type players. I'm not sold on moving wings to center but as I've said before, Hitch is casting a large net to see what works best in that #1 hole.

Nikolai Zherdev is off to a great start with 3 assists in 2 games. Everything about his game has improved since last year the question now is can he sustain it? The test continues for #13 tonight as he'll flank Sergei Fedorov.

I'm excited to see what this Fritsche-Peca-Brule line is gonna bring. Seems to be a good combination of youth and energy with a scoring touch. Also Chimera and Malhotra have been reunited. Those two have played the majority of their two seasons together and have developed some good chemistry. Throw young fireball Jarod Boll into that mix and that line has the potention, if nothing else, to be disruptive, agitating and punishing.

Hedja, Russell, Chimera, Modin and Vyborny all struggeled again Minnesota so lets watch how they in particularly respond tonight. In fact, lets see how this team as a whole responds after a tough road loss which saw them give up a 1 goal 3rd period lead. This game could go a long way towards giving us an idea of the character of this team. That and this team cannot afford 6 to 8 game losing streaks early in the season like we've seen in the past.

Special teams have been very special for the Jackets thus far ranking in the top 5 in both PK and PP. The defensemen have played a very key role in getting the PP off to a good start with the encouragement from the coaching staff to jump up in the play. The Jackets need this to continue. The PK is operating at 100% efficiency right now and is off to a hot start, the key to a good PK is above anything else, great goaltending, so we'll need Leclaire to continue to play strong.

The Jackets return home for their second game of the season. This team must absolutely play better in their barn this year (they went 18-19-4 last year) and make it a tough place to play. They are 6-5-1 against Phoenix at home all time and certainly need to improve on those numbers.

For Phoenix, Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata lead them in scoring with 2 assists a piece. For the Jackets, Rick Nash has 4 points (2g 2a) with Nikolai Zherdev and Ron Hainsey close behind with 3 points.

Leclaire will get the start tonight and offseason free agent pickup David Aebisher will get the start for the 'yotes.

Game will be televised on FSN Ohio and can be heard on or

Hope to see many of you down at the arena and/or Rbar tonight.

Go Jackets!!


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