directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Sharks pack big bite!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Sharks pack big bite!

Its the NHL's best San Jose Sharks again tonight... the difference, this time we play them in our house where the Jackets are a respectable 7-6-1 all time against them.

The Sharks are pulling a Michael Phelps and swimming over anyone in their path. In just 30 games they have amassed 25 wins, 3 losses and 2 OT losses good for 52 points. That is the best start in the history of the NHL.

Heck on the road they are 9-3.

The good news is that the Jackets have played this team well both times they have met, unfortunately they haven't gotten the results. They'll need the same effort plus some tonight if they hope to change that.

* The Jackets have outworked the Sharks every place but where it counts the most and that's the scoreboard. The Sharks are to dangerous to not convert on your chances and if you keep them in the game, they'll eventually make you pay.

* Special teams. I know here we go again but if you want to beat the best you have play your best in every area and that includes staying out of the box and converting on PP chances.

* Sharks are deep front 1st line to 4th.. from 1st pair to 3rd.. from starter to backup. As a player if you think you can take a night off against this squad then you fail.

* Did I mention the Jackets have got to score on their opportunities? If they outplay their opponents like they have been recently in the first period, they need more than one goal to show for it! Crash that net, fire shots through, get rebounds, get traffic in front, get deflections... make the simple play.

* Don't look now but Rick Nash is scoreless in his last 5 games. In fact over that stretch he has just 1 assist and is a -6. Nash is our leader and captain.... need a lot more out of 61 than those numbers if this team wants to move up the standings.... no better time than tonight to break out of that slump.

* Mason just has to keep on keepin on. He'll see a lot of quality opportunities against this San Jose squad that has pumped in an NHL best 112 goals. Need to stop what he should and make the big save when needed which is exactly what he's done thus far this season.

* The defense has their work cut out for them. San Jose can roll 3 scoring lines... obviously Hitch will play his matchups since he has the last line change but all 6 guys need to be dialed in for this one. No easy goals or lazy plays out there.

* Nash isn't the only one slumping.. Huselius has 1 assist and is a -6 over his last 6. Umberger is even worse -- he has 0 point over his last 7 and is a -4. These guys have to get it going and covert on their chances!

Nash-Umberger-Huselius.... need production from these three. They are our top scoring line and our best players have to be their best against the NHL's best team. They are allowing way to many goals against while they are out there while not converting -- that has to change starting tonight!

On paper this looks like a butt-whipping in waiting but for some reason I have a good feeling about this one. The Jackets need to start seeing positive results from their strong play and if they can somehow muster 2 points out of this tonight it could really build some confidence.

...and as a side note, a little birdie told me it was Hitch's birthday today -- so happy birthday Hitch!

Lets get him a big win tonight!!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good read. I really appreciate reading from a Jackets fan that actually has some passion for the game of hockey instead of complaining about every little thing. Maybe I'll see ya there tonight.