directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: NHL's glamour team in town

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: NHL's glamour team in town

The 36-26-6 Pittsburgh Penguins are soaring... they've reeled off 7 straight wins and are 9-1 over their past 10. They've put themselves right back into a playoff position as they currently sit 6th in the East.

Of course the Penguins are led by NHL cover boy Sindey Crosby as well as Russian phenom Evgeni Malkin. Malkin leads the league in scoring with 95 points while "the kid" is 3rd overall wtih 84.

Forget rocket scientists.. its doesn't even take an anonymous CBJ hockey blogger to figure this one out... contain these two and you probably win.

The big story of the day though is that Steve Mason is now questionable due to a cold according to Puck-rakers.

Excuse my rant for a sec but seriously.. how many colds/flus/monos/knees/groins/shoulders/concussions/upper-lower injuries can a team possibly take during one season? I think we are past the point of bad luck. //rant

* The obvious is to slow down Malkin/Crosby... but this team really got a big boost when Sergei Gonchar returned on that blueline... he is a dangerous player and the engine that makes their 25th ranked pp churn.

* Familiar story here but Mase will have to outplay Fleury... I don't want to even think about what could happen tonight if Dubie gets the start.

* The Jackets are going to need to bring that same playoff-type intensity they brought against the Bruins. High tempo.. strict adherence to the system.. everyone competing at a high level..

* Physical play. Lots of skill throughout this Penguins lineup... but not a whole lot of sandpaper.. the Jackets need to hit hard and hit often... need to rattle the golden boy.

* North/south play. Every body backchecks.. Smart decisions by the D in terms of when to jump up and not (lookin at you Tyutin).. spend as much time in their zone as possible.

* Commodore/Hejda... these boys have their work cut out for them as they look to shut down Crosby and co.

* Pittsburgh has given up 204 goals so they so they aren't the tightest defensively.. the Jackets scorers have to do their job find a way to get pucks by Fleury.

* Jackets best players have to be better than the Penguins.. really it comes down to that..

All eyes will be if Mase can play or not... but I also have a few questions of my own. Can the Jackets keep the energy up and momentum rolling? Better yet can the Penguins keep riding as high as they've been recently?

I think there will be plenty of goal scoring tonight. The game also has "blowout" written all over it to me... I'm just not sure which team will be the benefactor. Will the Penguins 7 game run finally come to a halt or will the Jackets get caught lookin at Chicago tomorrow and Detroit on Sunday and get steamrolled?

Somebody just seems doomed for a bad game.

It should be one helluva crowd and I hope my prediction is wrong and we get a similar display to what we saw on Tuesday night vs. the Bs.

As we wait for the game here is a great read from TSN titled: HEADING INTO THE POST-SEASON, JACKETS TRY TO SHED LOSING PAST. Check it out.

C-ya at the R!




DP@WFNY said...

P-rakers has Mason starting tonight, which means The Dube tomorrow night.

Jessica said...

5:00 to go, 1-0 Jackets. Great goaltending. That save by Fleury on the Hamburgler rebound might be the best save I've seen this year.

Dan said...

Oooh, nevermind. How about that blocker save by Mason in OT??? Wow!