Despite their 17-22-7 record the Jackets cannot underestimate this Ottawa Senators squad.
To begin with they are 4-4-2 over their past 10 and are coming off a convincing 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blue last night. They are playing some pretty good hockey lately.
Secondly they beat you on special teams. If the Ottawa Senators come out with energy and play you strong at even strength their special teams will take the two points. They are 14th in the league on the PP and 12th in the league on the PK.
Of course the Sens are carried by the big 3 of Heatley, Alfredsson & Spezza. They each have 38+ points and are the horses on this squad.
KEYS TO LIGHTING EM UP!
* The biggest key for me is don't underestimate this team. The Jackets have a habit of playing down to their competition and if they do that tonight, the Sens will pounce.
* Contain the big 3. These boys do a lot of their damage on the powerplay (they each have 15 or more points w/ the man advantage) so if they can stay out of the box and check these 3 tight at even strength they stand a good chance at shutting them down.
* Keep this game at even strength. The Jackets right now rank 10th overall in the league scoring 90 5 v 5 goals. The Sens are dead last with only 64. Stay out of the box and make this Sens team play you at even strength.
* Keep doin what your doin. The Jackets have found themselves. They are in a groove. The foundation and competitiveness are there. They know how they have to play to win. Got to keep executing the game plan.
* Mase looked better in Detroit. He needs to outplay Auld and when the Sens do get a PP he needs to be our best penalty killer.
* Nasher carried the team offensively against Detroit.. lets get him some help tonight. A guy that is due for a goal is Modin. I also look for Chimera to get on the scoresheet.
* The Jackets PP showed signs of life against the Wings even potting a big one. That trend needs to continue.
* The Sens played last night so there is absolutely no excuse to get outworked in this game.
* Ottawa is actually pretty stingy defensively only giving up 134 goals against. They make you pay a price to score. That said they are dead last in goals for in the league only scoring 112 goals. Bottom line the Jackets can't get pretty and have to pay a price to score and if they stay tight defensively it will be tough going for Ottawa as well.
* The players are feeding off the home crowd these days. Lets get loud in there tonight Columbus!!!
The Dispatch had an interesting read on Mike Commodore as he faces off against the team that traded for him for the first and only time this season. Will there be a little extra motivation for Commie?
QUOTES OF THE DAY
"To be honest with you," Commodore smiled, "I'm perfectly happy to be in Columbus."
Also here your chance to watch Antoinne Vermette. Perhaps a CBJ target at the deadline?
"It's great to be back in a hockey market," Williams said. "Now, I want to get back in the playoffs. If I can help this team get in that situation, and have a long run, it would be great for the organization and great for me."
Also be sure to check out this interview with Ken Hitchcock from the Fan590. He talks about a couple of his unheralded players and how they aren't sure what they want to do yet come the trade deadline.
Puck drops at 7. See ya at the R Bar post game (hopefully pre game as well)!!