directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to take season series against Wings

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Jackets look to take season series against Wings

The Jackets are 3-3-1 through 7 games against a team that has own them since their existence (11-25-1-7 all time)...well maybe not "Nashville" owned but nevertheless they have certainly had their way with the Jackets over the years.

Tonight is a chance for the Jackets to capture the season series for the first time against those Wings. Will that be enough motivation to come out playing hard and get two points against a Wings team that has pretty much blown through the season on cruise control?

Not so fast. The Wings got owned by the Chicago Blackhawks, who are still fighting for their playoff lives, last night 6-2. Now one could argue there isn't much for the Wings to be playing for at this point as they have all but locked up the #1 seed in the conference and the President's trophy for best record in the league. Still though, a team like the Wings doesn't get to where they are but not being able to get up for games on a consistent basis regardless of opponent -- they'll be ready tonight.

Keys to lighting em up

Hit, hit and hit some more. The Wings hate to be hit. For the Jackets to have a chance to win tonight they have to finish their checks...and don't put your team out of position in doing so b/c if you do, the Wings will make you pay by burying puck in the back of your net.

Leclaire in....well, if anyone thought this team may tank the last three games I think we now know the answer to that question. Leclaire has been tower of power for us this season between the pipes and gives us a much better chance to win this game than Norrena. He'll have his work cut out for him... the key is to make a couple of stops early to get into the game quick.

Nash. He's been dominant against the Wings this season. Unfortunately he's been relatively quite the past 5 games only notching 2a and going and an even +/-. Need a big game out of the monster Nash tonight.

Crunchies. What was it..7 Crunch players in the lineup tonight? Lets see....Wilson, Rome, Konopka, MacKenzie, Lindstrom, Murray, Pineault and if you count the time Brule spent down there that is 8 total. Wow.... that sad part is that many of these guys have looked better than some of the full time Jackets that they've replaced... (thanks MacLean!)... anyhow --- these boys are all gonna have to bring it tonight for the Jackets to be successful.

Special teams. The Wings are better us in both areas (3rd ranked PP, 6th ranked PK). For the Jackets to be successful they HAVE to limit the Wings on the powerplay. No ifs and or hot sauce. That is where they win games.. when you can throw Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom (even though he's hurt tonight), Rafalski and Lindstrom out there they can make the puck dance. Jackets are good even strength against this team but they have to be better than them on special teams.

Game spotlight

Alot of story lines to keep an eye on:

Adam Pineault makes his NHL debut. Kid has earned a look.

Zenon Konopka wants somebody in Red...doesn't matter who. Keep your eye on a Downey/Konopka match up..that is if Boll doesn't get to him first.

Leclaire returns after 7 games. How does he respond in on the road against a motivated Wings team?

Finally...the Columbus Crunch...are they better than the Columbus Blue Jackets? I wouldn't write them off.


Hard to make a call on this one. If the Jackets can weather the early storm they could make a game out of it. For me it will be fun to watch how some of the younger players perform as they try to get a jump start on making their case for the team next season.

For those "draft watching". A loss tonight would guarantee us no lower than a 9th overall pick.

Also late breaking word is that potential free agent center target Damond Langkow has just resigned with the Flames for a 4 year 20 million dollar deal. Lookin more and more likely that if the Jackets are dreaming of a #1 center they are going to have to trade for one.

Some folks going down to the RBar tonight for the game -- feel free to join em. Can't beat $1.50 domestics!



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