directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Don't get cocky Jackets

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pre-game thoughts: Don't get cocky Jackets

The Jackets take on the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Wild, who are the Jackets expansion brothers, are one team the Jackets have had major success over in their overall series.

The Jackets are 13-9-1 all time versus the Wild and 9-1-1 against them in Nationwide Area. The Blue Jackets are 2-0-1 in the past 3 while the Wild are losers of their last two including a 5-0 drubbing in Detroit last night.

Keys to lighting em up

Don't get overly confident. The Wild are gonna come into Nationwide looking at this game as a must win to end their current skid especially after an embarrassing loss against the Wings last night. The Jackets have to be ready and they can't look at their success at home against this team and get cocky. They can't let their guard down and take anything for granted, if they do the Wild wins.

Mentally prepared. We all know how this team responds to teams they think they should beat and how they respond to teams above them in the standings. Technically the Wild are 1 point ahead of them in the standings but b/c the Jackets have had a lot of success against this team, they have to start beating teams they should...and with a struggling Wild team playing on the tail end of a back to back on the road - the Jackets must take the 2 points here.

Shut down Gaborik/Rolston/Bouchard. Gaborik leads the team in points with 22p in 23gp. Rolston and Bouchard are right behind him with 19 points 28 games. Gaborik is explosive and the Jackets have to watch neutral zone turnovers when he's on the ice. Rolston has a rocked shot and uses it quite effectively on the point from the PP. Bouchard is a free wheeling free agent pickup that can beat you in a lot of ways. Jackets need to shut these guys down.

Battle of the special teams. Jacket have the 3rd best pk, the Wild have the 11th. Jackets have the 21st best PP to the Wild's 3rd. Whoever wins the special teams wins this game.

Secondary scorers must continue to step up. Guys like Kris Beech, Dan Fritsche, Joakim Lindstrom and Curtis Glencross really came through in the 3rd period against the Avalanche. The Jackets will need more of that if they hope to grab another two points. Can't just be the Rick, Nik and Pascal show.

Jackets need to be energized. 60 minutes tonight. Hitch can't give a speech like he did against the Avs every night to get his players competing at a high level. The players need to take upon themselves to motivate. They know how good they can be when they play their basic game with energy and get pucks to the net. None of this fancy dancy nonsense. Hit, pucks to net, energy = wins for this team.


Another Saturday night home game for the Jackets - the 3rd of the year thus far. Hopefully the CBJ faithful show up...grabs a pre-game beverage at our favorite neighborhood hockey, the RBar!, and support our boys in Blue. Hopefully the Jackets give them a good show tonight.

Go Jackets!


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