directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets end 5 game roady in Montreal

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets end 5 game roady in Montreal

The Jackets are 2-2 right now on this 5 game road trip. Wins against powerhouses Detroit and Ottawa....losses against lesser teams in St. Louis and Toronto.

The opponent tonight - the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal is a good team this year, a real good team. They are 33-20-9 but are only 5-5 over their last 10 and lost their last game. Still though, Canadiens can beat you in a lot of ways.

They have extremely balanced scoring with 6 players - count em 6 players with 40 points or more with a 7th only 3 points from that mark. The Jackets have 2. They have the 1st ranked powerplay and 23rd ranked PK.

In short -- the Jackets have their work cut out for them tonight...and on top of all this the Canadiens are retiring Bob Gainey's number --- think the Habs want to play a stinker in front of their GM who is getting his number retired?

Yeah....this could be a long night for the Jackets.

Keys to lighting em up

Need the same 60 minute effort -- maybe even more -- that the Jackets played against the Sens tonight in Montreal. That's hitting, that's strong defense, timely goaltending, strong on the puck.....the only thing they need more of is goals but what else is new.

Buy in from everyone. With such balanced scoring throughout their lineup the Jackets can't really key on one player so everyone up and down the lineup must do their part in all 3 zones.

PK needs to really step up tonight. Its given up a PP goal in the last 8 straight games - a big reason why they've slid down the standings lately. Goin up against he #1 PP I think this one is fairly obvious -- Jackets must win this game within a game.

Lecalire -- can't give up a softy like he did against the Sens. Jackets got lucky comin back from that and Leclaire himself responded well but we usually lose games where that kind of goal is given up b/c of our lack of offense.

Trade deadline. This is the final game before the deadline. Jackets figure to sell off a few bodies. The Jackets can use it as an excuse or they can use it as motivation. As Hitch has said lately, not much more the coaches can do at this point -- its on the players.

So Fedorov finally got on the board so who is next? Malhotra, Vyborny, Fritsche, Novonty, Brule, Murray -- been quite a few games since these guys have scored a goal. Z, Nash and Modin could use some help.

Finish strong. 2-2 is respectable for the Jackets who have historically struggled on the road. If they could find a way to get out of this game with a point or two it would have to bee looked at as solid trip. Do I want more -- of course but lets be realistic.

Game spotlight

Sergie Fedorov, Adam Foote, David Vyborny, Ron Hainsey, Jan Hejda -- this game could be the last in a Blue Jackets sweater for all of these soon to be unrestricted free agents.

Keep an eye on Manny Malhotra and Gilbert Brule as well. They've been rumored to possibly move by the deadline as well.


The Jackets have had some decent success in the Bell Center going 2-1-1. The overall series is 2-3-1.

Real hard to get a read on this one. The Jackets have played better lately against teams higher in the standings. However one has to think the Canadiens are going to come out flying in honor of their GM getting his # retired.

How bout the Jackets wearing jersey's with the #23 during the pregame skate in honor of Gainey that will be auctioned off as part of a charity later? Classy move by the Jackets.

Hopefully Hitch gets the last laugh tonight over his good friend (and guy who gave Hitch his first job in the pros in Dallas) with a win tonight.



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