directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Clinch won't be a cinch

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: Clinch won't be a cinch

Just. one. more. point.

That is all that's needed to guarantee the first ever home playoff game at Natwionwide Arena...

One more!!

I think back to some of those lost points against Minnesota (thx Toronto) and the sweep at the hands of Phoenix...but every team can do that. The Jackets control their own destiny and that is all you can ask for at this stage of the season.

Of course why stop at 1 right as with 3 more points out of the final 3 games the Jackets can lock up the 6th overall spot and avoid San Jose and Detroit in the first round?

..but first thing is first, let's just get in baby!

Tonight's opponent is the Chicago Blackhawks. A team that seems to be streaking at just the right time as they gear up for their first playoff berth in 7 years. They have won 4 straight as they look to lock in home ice through at least the first round. After their game against Columbus tonight they finish with a home at home with division rival Detroit.

The Jackets... while losers of their past 2, have gotten a point in each of those games. To clinch tonight they are going to have to go through this 'hawks squad at home... and despite them playing last night it ain't gonna be easy.

* Take advantage of a tired 'hawks team. Unlike the last time they played them the Jackets are the more rested team this time around. No excuses to get outworked in this game.. none.

* Don't get caught looking too far forward. Still plenty of work to be done to not only get in but to lock up 6th spot.

* Kane, Havlat and Toews. This line is rolling and is dangerous every time they are on the ice. Hejda and Big Red -- do your thang and shut these boys down.

* I'm looking for the Umberger-Vermette-Williams line to have a big night. With Juice out this line poses our biggest threat shift to shift and we need them to quickly find their chemistry and bury some pucks.

* Everyone thinks Nash will be a big game player in the playoffs... well how about a big game from the monster to clinch this sucker? I think we are going to see a very motivated 61 tonight.

* As Hitch said it's all about playing well and the wins will come. The Jackets do not need to stray away from the plan to put an exclamation point on this thing. We don't need this turning into a track meet... play the way that's got you to this point and you'll be fine.

* Mase just keep on keepin on big boy.

* The PK has been strong and needs to stay that way... the PP... well, ya know.

* Just how sweet would it be if the Jackets could clinch and in the process Jason Chimera could pot one tonight in honor of Ryan Salmons? Great story in the 'patch today about this btw.

Energy, energy, energy! I want to see a bunch of energizer bunnies in white and union blue running around out there from drop of the first puck.

I'll be live bloggin tonight for this one. Stop on by!

Let's finish this sucker!!




ROTU said...

I think Hitch's lines will determine the game. We used a line-up devoid of chemistry and took Chicago to overtime. If we can keep the Umberger/Vermette/Williams line and the Torres/Peca/Boll line in tact, we can generate a good deal more shots than we can if we juggle them out of their comfort zones. I mentioned this in a comment on Puck Rakers and Hitch had this line going in practice, Jake being up with Nash and Manny is the best option we have with Juice out. Jake's playmaking and passing ability is the closest option we have to Huselius while he's out. He will be able to make a pinpoint pass, create space, and create scoring opportunities. If we start moving RJ up to the first line, we'll see the same results as Sunday: minimal shots and minimal scoring opportunities. GO JACKETS!

Max said...

ROTU love the picture... It's been a running joke for me and my friends for 5 years or so...

Here's the deal, the Jackets have got to get in the face of the Blackhawks early. Keep them to the corners, and the defensemen need to just pound them down low. Forwards need to crash and bang on the forecheck. Anyone with size needs to lay the body into someone. I'm tired of getting out hit. The team's built on size and grit, use it for God's sake!

Go Jackets, let's win this one.

JAL said...

I like everything being said -- but sometimes we use the whole "hit" and "grit" thing too much -- we need to be smart on our hits, particularly against a team like Chicago, with an explosive transition game. An untimely hit or attempted hit in the wrong spot on the ice can be turned against us quickly.

We have shown that we can beat the best teams in the league by standing people up at the blue line , forcing them wide, and supporting in the middle. We did that well for 63 minutes and 9 seconds last game, and with the carrot just across the finish line, I think we will do it again.

Go Jackets!

A Shot From The Point