directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Streaking Habs come to town

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Streaking Habs come to town

The Montreal Canadiens make their 3rd ever visit to Nationwide Arena tonight - a place where they have won their previous two visits.

The Canadiens are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and make no mistake about it, they are a legit Cup contender and a favorite among many to come out of the East this season.

They are 8-1-1 and are undefeated on the road. They are winners of their past 3 and boast a high powered offense and strong defense that has only given up a league best 24 goals (granted, they've also only played 10 games). To top that off they are well rested having not played since last Saturday.

If the Jackets want a challenge they've found one. The Jackets however are on a little run of their own. They are 2-0-2 in their past four and although they are having problem keeping puck out they are certainly finding way to bury them averaging 3 goals per game which is good for 14th in the NHL (now if they could only get the PP going!).

The good news if your a Jackets fan is that this team tends to play to the level of their competition.... look for that to trend up tonight.

* The Habs can bring scoring throughout their lineup. They are fast and move the puck exceptionally well. They can burn you quick in alot of ways. The Jackets will be fully aware of this and will have to neutralize it and counter quick of rushes of their own.

* Mason is going to have to play better than he did in his previous outing. Its certainly trial by fire you don't want to expect to much out him... he just needs to make the saves he should to give the Jackets a shot at this one. He's got to be our best penalty killer.

* Halak gets the net for Candadiens. He's got 2 wins and has a 2.52 GAA and .918 Save%. In other words he's played well when he's gotten the shot. The Jackets can't assume just because Price is out that its going to be any easier to score on these guys.

* PP. Its been well documented the struggles in this area. I really liked the past game how Hitch put 5 forwards out on the 5 on 3 -- it didn't produce anything that time but I think its a step in right direction given our offensive problems on the blueline. I also like how they were trying to utilize Modin's ability with the one timer. I think we need to keep trying those kinds of things to find a spark here.

* Jackets must continue to stay out of the box like they have been the past few games. They've been really good at limited penalties and that's a trend that needs to continue.

* Special teams. Montreal comes in with the 20th ranked PP and 13th ranked PK. The Jackets are 27th on the PP and 17th on the PK. In other words neither have been great on special teams to this point but should one get hot -- there is your game.

* Got to contain Markov on defense. He is a tremendous offensive d-man and leads this team in points with 13 in 10.

* Tanguay, Koivu & Kovalev are off to nice starts. Guys like Plekanec and Kostistyn brothers are struggling out of the gate and are just waiting for a breakout game. Can't let it happen.

* Offensively the Jackets have to keep doing what they are doing. Pretty much everyone is working well at even strength and Nash showed signs of breaking out whatever slump he was in the 3rd.

* Defensively there is still plenty of work to do to shore things up. We can't keep giving up short handed goals and we need to watch the turnovers. The puck movement and breakout has been better from the blueline back which needs to continue.

I'm going to say attendance. A Friday night with an original 6 team we won't see very much....would be really nice to get a decent sized crowd in the confines. At the very least the Jackets have been playing an entertaining brand of hockey (even though I've come close to death about 4 times so far this season b/c of it) and scoring a lot of goals -- casual fans dig that stuff so if your on the fence, grab a friend or family member and head on down to the arena tonight.

This is the 2nd game of the Canadian hat trick. We've beat Edmonton, we have Montreal tonight and then tomorrow night its those nasty Calgary Flames who come to town.

See you all at the Garage Bar and I'm being told two weeks til the new R Bar Arena opens -- can't come soon enough!




Sean said...

I'll be there tonight and then again tomorrow. Really excited about the weekend! GO JACKETS!

Frederic Lord said...

Halak is having a great year so far, except for this game against Anaheim where he let in some soft goals.
For the first time this year, Higgins is back with Koivu (and Tanguay). Think the Jackets is the kind of team he likes to play.

Mike said...

I'll be there by the cannon rooting the team on. GO JACKETS!

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the last time that Montreal played Columbus, Jazzy Pazzy shut them out.
Add that to the complete lack of pressure for our boy Mason... :)

LTL said...

"Jazzy Pazzy".. nice. I also heard another good one for him recently "Glasscal Leclaire"...

Yep.. I remember that game very fondly as it was Bob Gainey night.. was a great win all the way around.

Unfortunately the last time the Canadiens were here they put a similar stomping on us at home.

Its time to restore the roar/reverse the curse/jab the habs...or whatever..tonight!!


Anonymous said...

nice win last's the 1st time the habs have lost in ohio since 1977 to the 2 year wonder cleveland barons