directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to end 4 game skid

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to end 4 game skid

The Jackets take on the up-start Phoenix Coyotes for the 4th and final time of the year. The Jackets have won 2 of 3 and will look to get back on the winning side of things tonight in Glendale.

The Coyotes lost their last game but are 5-2-3 in their last 10 and sit 3 points ahead of the Jackets in the overall standings.

From a playoff picture standpoint, Phoenix sits 9th just 1 point behind the Nashville Predators for that 8th spot while the Jackets sit 11th and 4 points out.

Keys to lighting em up

Get swagger back. The Jackets semmed to have lost it. That "strut" as Hitch has referred to before is gone. They had it going into the All Star break but somewhere along the way after they have completely gotten away from what has made them successfull. Jackets need to come out and act like they should win the game, not hope.
Survive injuries. We know Fedorov and Modin are out. The next hit was Leclaire. The good news is that he'll be back on Sunday; the bad news is that he'll be back Sunday and there are two important game between now and then. Injuries can't be an excuse, the guys on the ice must perform.

Norrena needs to regain form. Lets not sugar coat this - Norrena has been bad, real bad, in his last handfull of starts. He's just not making the big game saves like he did last year and if goaltending can't make those saves, this team can't win. That's just the way it is this season, the offense just isn't there so goaltending and defense must be exceptional every night.

Doan. Phoenix's key player. Must contain him. He's got 53 points in 53 games.
Watch the rookies. Mueller and Hanzal. These kids are making an impact (why can't we ever get rookies to make this kind of impact - story for another day). Mueller is red hot -- has 37 points in 53 games -- including 18 points in his past 13 games. This kid is really gelling well with Doan.

Score by committee. Actually the Coyotes do a damn good job at spreading the wealth throughout their lineup. They have 5 players who have scored 30 or more points. Contrast that to the Jackets who have just 2 players with over 30 points. Translation - you can't just shut down two Coyotes and expect to win.

Work for goals. Byrgalov has been a whale of a Christmas gift to the 'yotes (really its hard to believe Burk couldn't trade this guy and that Phoenix got him off waivers). Jackets are going to have to work for their goals....get to those rebounds and score the dirty ones.

Somebody besides Nash and Z. Jackets need step up. Granted we still need Nash and Z to perform but they could use some help. Chimera has been doin better lately but where is Novotny/Malhotra/Peca/Fritsche/Vyborny been for goals? Nowhere.

PP has been back to its bad ways of late. Could certainly use some help from this special team tonight.


Who knows with this one. It seems the Jackets have been playing better on the road than at home of late...Another big two points up for grabs. The Jackets just can't afford to lose very many more games to realistically have a shot.
Lets see what they've got in store for us. I may need to break out the oxygen (again).



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