directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to keep win streak alive on road

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to keep win streak alive on road

The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the road in Phoenix for the 1st game in a 5 game stretch. They won't play in Nationwide again until after the All-Star break on January 29th.

For the Jackets its a chance to really make a move in the standings. Its chance for them to really get over the last remaining hump and that's to win some games on the road. For a team that has the second worst road record in the league that will be no easy feat.

The Jackets opponent tonight, the Phoenix Coyotes, will be no easy foe. They are hot, red hot of late. After a slow start they are now 24-20-1 and have just one less point in the standings than the Jackets. They are 7-3-0 in their last 10. They are in direct competion with the Jackets for that final playoff spot and will be ready for the Jackets team.

Keys to lighting em up

Byrzgalov the key. Ever since the Coyotes claimed Byrgalov from the Ducks their fortunes have changes. If the Jackets want two points tonight they are going to have to beat this guy.

If ever there was a game to score first in its this one. The Coyotes are ungodly when they score first losing only 2 of 19 games.

Speical teams. Again this game could come down to special teams. The Coyotes are in the bottom half of the league in PP (22nd) and PK (18th). The Jackets must expose this.

Keep it simple. As Foote said in the paper today, the Jackets play a much simpler game at home as compared to the road. They need that simple game on the road. Get pucks deep, use your speed, capitalize on turnover and bang.

Our best players need to show up on the road. I haven't particularly been that impressed with Rick Nash the last month or so. He needs to pick up this team and help #13 get this offense churning on the road. I don't want to hear the excuse that he faces the other team's best defensemen -- all great players fight through that and help their team win.

Stay disciplined. I know the refs haven't helped us much in the area but that Jackets need to stay out of the box. They don't need to dig any unneccesary holes early.

Secondary scoring. Guys like Chimera, Vyborny, Hainsey, Klesla and Fedorov have been picking up the slack in the goal scoring department - we could use more of that.

If Modin is in -- feed off him being back in the lineup. Don't expect him to carry the load.


To get a win tonight would be a huge boost for this club's confidence on the road and is something they could really build from. I know I say this alot but a win tonight could go a long way towards their playoff hopes!



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