directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to get back on track

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to get back on track

The Columbus Blue Jackets look to get back to their winning ways tonight as they take on their expansion sisters the Minnesota Wild.

The Minnesota Wild sit on top of the very competitive Northwest division with an overall record of 29-19-3. They have a very strong road record at 13-11-2 and are winners for their past two. They have also won 2 of the 3 contests against the Jackets this season.

For the Jackets, they are losers of their past 2 including a sound butt whipping at the hands of those dang Nashville Predators. They've only scored 4 goals in those past two games and have really gotten away from that tight checking game that has made them successfull most of the season.

Keys to lighting em up

First and foremost the Jackets have got to get back to what made them successful prior to the all star break. That is that tight checking "all in" game. They have been way to passive in their defensive zone allowing way to many breakdowns and odd man rushes. They also have been taking way to many penalties and not making the smart play.

Leclaire needs to bounce back. I haven't yet hard the definitive word on whether or not Leclaire will get the start tonight but I tend to think he will. He's not been particularly sharp and on this team unfortunately if Leclaire or Norrena are off their games its probably going to be a loss.

Nash needs to show up. This guy has been invisible the past two games. He's got 0 points in his past three games and is a -3. He's only got 8 points in his past 15 games. This is not the time for Nash to fall off the radar. He's our franchise player and this team needs production each and every game if they have a snow balls chance in hell to make the playoffs. Nash has been passed in team scoring by Nik Zherdev.

Watch for Gaborik. Minnesota's franchise player on the other hand is red hot. He's got 53 points in just 46 games played. He's got 19 points (8g 11a) in his past 14 games. Against the CBJ he has 13 points in 20 career games. He is the Wild's game breaker and can beat you by himself.

Near sell out expected tonight. Jackets have got to take advantage of the home crowd tonight.

Can't use injuries as an excuse. Feds and Modin are out. Players have got to step up. Paging just about everyone on offense outside of Nik Zherdev and Jared Boll.

Keep it simple. The Jackets aren't a flash team so don't try to be. On offense get pucks deep, win battles, finish checks, get to the net, score dirty ugly goals. On defense stick to your assignments, find the open man on transition - if not there make the smart low risk play, finish checks, active sticks, clear rebounds. These guys know what kind of team they are now -- they just have to execute and come ready to play.

Backstrom exposed. Nik Backstrom can be scored on. The Wild, while good defensively, aren't great. They've given up 139 goals. Heck the Jackets have given up 5 less than that. Get pucks on this guy.


Just another huge game. Not a must win but as close as you can get. The Jackets can't afford to give up a loss tonight again at home. The Jackets only have one Saturday night home game left this season - so if you don't have tickets go out get some and lets make this a sell out!

See you all at the RBar pre-game!



No comments: