directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets must beat Great 8 to break slump

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets must beat Great 8 to break slump

One of the brightest stars in the league makes his first NHL appearance tonight at Natwionwide Arena. Alexader Ovechkin (The Great 8, Alexander the Great, Ovechking - pick one!) comes into Columbus tonight as the NHL's leading scoreg with 70 points scoring 18 points in his last 10 games for his 24-24-5 Capitals.

The Jackets, losers of their past 3, will try to break out of their worst slump of the season. They have lost 5 of the past 7 and have allowed 12 goals in their past 3 games while only scoring 5. Nobody on their roster has played up to par since the All Star break including the three amigos - Leclaire, Nash and Zherdev.

Keys to lighting em up

You can stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Chances are Ovechkin gets on the scoreboard tonight. This kid is a that good. He can beat you from anywhere on the ice as he's got an equally impressive slap shot, wrist shot and snap shot. If that doesn't work he'll run you over and embarrass you with a high speed deek. This guy is the total package. If the Jackets want to win they have got to contain him and play him smart.

Three amigos need to rekindle their games. Nash, Z & Leclaire have carried this team this far -- can't stop now. They've all struggled the last three games (or in Leclaire case, two of three) and the Jackets need them to return to form to win tonight.


A little puck luck. Puck hasn't bounced our way lucky but you have to be good to be lucky which we haven't been. Jackets bust their butts tonight then they'll get rewarded.

Some new lumber. I have never seen a team break as many stick as they Jackets have this season. Better yet, it seems when they do break one its in the defensive zone and they get scored on. So what the's the key here? Hell, I don't really know what I'm getting at..haha.

Brent Johnson gets the start tonight in place of a struggling Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig's numbers are pretty bad - 18-18-6 GAA 3.07 Save % .883. Johnson on the other hand are 6-6-1 GAA 2.74 Save % .907 - now granted he hasn't played nearly as much as Kolzig and has benefited from their recent surge that happened after they fired their head coach. Bottom line though is that the Cap's goaltending isn't all the great -- the struggling Jackets offense must take advantage.

Jackets have the edge in special teams. Caps rank 17th on the PP and 25th on the PK. Jackets are 23rd on the PP and 3rd on the PK. Can the Jackets get a PP goal tonight? It would go a long way towards a win if they could.
Washington can score. They are one of the higher scoring teams in the league with 152 goals for. The Jackets in contrast have just 132 goals for. Besides Ovechking, rookie senstation Nikolas Backstrom has 42 points in 53 games (seriously, why can't our rookies every put up those kinds of points in their first year?) and guys like Mike Green can bring it from the blue line. Jackets defense definitely has their work cut out for them.

Come out with a purpose. No more nights off. I know the team has been stung by the flu bug but those are excuses. Easy for me to say behind a keyboard but its true. Every team goes through it and those who fight through are the ones that come out the other side in the playoffs. The Jackets know what kind of game they need to play to be successfully its up to the players in that room to execute. Yelling from Hitch and the coaching staff at this point in the season shouldn't have to motivate these guys.


This game is a must win for the Jackets - plain and simple. They play the next 7 of 9 on the road.

See ya the "R" for pre-game.


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