Previewing the Blue Jackets

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Before I get any further, I’m just really glad I didn’t have to watch the end of that Edmonton game.  GameCenter Live crapped out on me, and as I saw the tweets that Edmonton had tied it up, I was actually more relieved that I wasn’t watching.  I don’t think I could have handled that crap.

This is the first of three games against Columbus in the remaining 6.  With my astoundingly brilliant mathematical skills, that’s half of the games left in the season that will be against the Blue Jax.

Looking at what’s left:

DATE VISITOR HOME
THU APR 1, 2010 BLUE JACKETS RED WINGS
SAT APR 3, 2010 PREDATORS RED WINGS
SUN APR 4, 2010 RED WINGS FLYERS
WED APR 7, 2010 BLUE JACKETS RED WINGS
FRI APR 9, 2010 RED WINGS BLUE JACKETS
SUN APR 11, 2010 RED WINGS BLACKHAWKS

In the first three meetings between the BJs, Detroit has the advantage, 2-0-1, including that glorious 9-1 smackdown way back in November.  However, the last time Detroit and Columbus met, it was a pretty insane goaltending battle, so hearing the noise that Mason is rounding back into form, the Wings need to be wary and on their game.

The Winged Wheelers rolled through March with a 12-2-1 record.  They should be able to keep that up against Columbus, who is hanging on towards the bottom of the conference at 14th.  The Blue Jackets, however, have won their last 2 games, including a 4-2 victory over Chicago.  This game, and the other two, aren’t necessarily going to be a cake-walk: the Jax are 10-5-4 under their new interim coach, Claude Noel, and it doesn’t sound like they are willing to just fade into the background as an end to the season.  I think they could easily take advantage of a distracted Wings team in one of these three upcoming games.

According to The Dispatch, Steve Mason will be in net for Columbus.  Portzline also says to “expect no changes” for the Red Wings, which suggests that we’ll see Howard again.  This also means Cleary will not be back, most likely.  Helm and Williams had maintenance days, but will be playing.

Babcock is apparently “just worried about playing better,” and he’s not alone in that regard.  The Wings have more or less secured a spot in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they can afford to sit back and relax in this final stretch, like they usually can.  6 points back from a somewhat slumping Chicago, it’s feasible that they could still make a run for the division.  But they can’t go out and play like they did in the second and third periods of the Oilers game, or Rick Nash will walk all over them.  Let’s hope they’re motivated after that dismal performance, and inspired by the post-season around the corner.

Posted by EM   @   1 April 2010 1 comments
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