directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: We've been here before

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: We've been here before

Remember the Washington game earlier this season? The Jackets were down 6 or 7 regulars going into an arena where the opponent hadn't lost more than 4 game all season?

Somehow...actually on the coat tails of Steve Mason... the Jackets found a way to win that game.

They are going to need a similar effort for this one.

On paper the Jackets have no shot tonight against Detroit. They aren't scoring regularly. Their level of play has been a mixed bag at best the past couple of weeks. They haven't won in Detroit this season. Heck Detroit has only lost at home 4 times this year are are winners of their past 2.

Why even bother to watch... let alone drive up there like many Jackets fans (including yours truly) to watch the massacre?


..because the game is played on the ice.


* If the Jackets have any hope of salvaging a win they'll need everyone bringing their A-game. No sloppy d-zone play. No unforced turnovers. No stupid penalties. Big game saves from Mase. The offensive players have to score when they get their chances! No hitting of a 4 inch stick when the rest of the net is wide open.

* Don't expect Vermette to save you. I'm sure he'll give them a nice spark and some good 3-zone play but this guy isn't going to take over the game and be the "savior".

* I mentioned it already but whenever you play the Wings it can never be said enough.. stay disciplined and stay out of the box. It's a no brainer when your going against the #1 ranked PP that clicks at 27+%... unlike the Jackets, the is how the Wings beat you.. They played good even strength.. draw some penalties and then go for the kill while stealing momentum and deflating their opponents.

* Don't use injuries as an excuse.. this squad has arguably played its best hockey when it's been shorthanded the most. Use it as motivation.

* I'll mention this one again too.. SCORE! The Jackets have to take advantage of their scoring opportunities... pay the price.. get in the paint.. get redirects, get to rebounds, go hard to the net... Osgood is the weakest link on this Wings team... exploit it!

* Some interesting matchups on special teams:
#1 Wings PP vs. #15 CBJ PK.....
#30 Jackets PP vs. #27 Wings PK

* Mase has to be better than Osgood/Conklin... it has to happen for the Jackets to win.. end of story.

* Hejda and Commodore have to do better.. They have both been a negative or even the past 9 games. That needs to end. Whether that is b/c they are tired... the goaltending hasn't been as sharp.. or a combo or a lot of factors... they need to regain their form from earlier this season and start shutting down the other team's best players again.

* The Jackets catch a break with Hossa out of the lineup.. but that really doesn't matter when you still roll out the likes of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Fafalski, Franzen and co? Not one bit.

The obvious one here is Vermette which I'll certainly watch closely.

However more importantly to me is the play of Steve Mason... kid looks tired... we haven't been getting the big game save of late (would he have let in that 4th goal against Nashville 2 months ago?)...

The Jackets also need to be much tighter and sharper with the puck. The defense has been shaky in particular but everyone needs to tighten their games up and believe in the system that has got them to this poin.

It's another division game. Teams like Nashville are finding another gear and making a push. If
the Jackets hope to stay in it they are going to have to find one as well.

A comment put it best the other day (I think it was Lamdev) that is completely worth repeatng.. the Jackets have to play like they want it.. not like they need it.

A final reminder to those heading to Detroit... a bunch of us will be at the Anchor Bar pre-game so feel to join us and don't forget to:


1 comment:

Catherine said...

Any Jackets fans going to Chicago next weekend? I'll be in town and am dragging a college friend to the game ;) Not much to do around UC, but if any of you know a good bar in the area, please post. Otherwise, we'll head to O'Hagan's in Wrigleyville after the game.