The 4-6-2 Jackets take on the 6-4-1 Edmonton Oilers tonight.
Its a chance for the Jackets to get back into the win column after two frustrating defeats in overtime/shootout. They'll play their next 3 at home which also gives them an opportunity to string a couple of wins together.
The Oilers have been winners of their past two and are pretty good on the road going 4-4. They are lead by Ales Hemsky who has 11 points in 11 games. They also have an offensive minded defense lead by guys like Souray, Visnovsky & Gilbert.
The Jackets are 6-16-3-3 all time versus the Oil.
* The obvious is to shut down Hemsky. Alot of the Oilers offensive players are struggling early (Gagne, Coglianio, Nilsson, etc) and Hemsky seems to be the only guy running. Shut him down and the chances of winning greatly improve.
* Watch their puck-moving defense. They have a lot of guys that can move the puck and can fire bombs from the point. If you give them to much space they'll make you pay with lasers in the net.
* No flat tires. Man it sure would be nice to string a strong 60 minute effort together.
* I'm personally disappointed Mason isn't getting the start tonight but its once again Norrena's nets. He'll have to outplay Roloson who has a 2.22GAA and .929 Save%.
* The Oil are stingy defensively. They've only give up 31 goals against which is tied for 5the best in the conference. The Jackets big guns on 'O' have to deliver to pull this one out.
* Nash needs to wake up. I'd like to see his minutes reduced to see if that gives him more energy for the shifts he's out there. He really needs a slumpbusting goal.
* I hope Brass is back because I didn't like his line much at all without him.
* Oil have the 13th best PP but the worst PK in the league. Here's a glorious opportunity for the Jackets 26th ranked PP to get back on track. They need some PP goals.
* Backman needs his ice time limited if he's not producing and I'd like to see Methot even more. Methot has 4 points in 7 games which ties for the team lead on defense with Backman, Tyutin & Commodore.
* Modin-Peca-Torres --- they looked pretty good on Monday despite being unable to get on the scoreboard (still in awe Modin missed that wide open cage) but if they keep playing like they did, the point will come.
This is Raffi Torres first game against his former mates. You'd have to think he'll find some extra motivation for this one.
Doesn't look like Gilbert Brule will be suiting up as I believe he's injured and in the AHL.
I haven't seen the official word that Brassard is back in the lineup but my guess is that he will be. I also think Norrena will be on a very short leash should he falter early. The Jackets must get on a run here to get back into the race and can no longer afford to be patient or wait for chemistry to come to them.