What a crazy weekend for the Jackets. After all of my snickering at Calgary on Friday, they came into Nationwide Arena Friday night and flat-out embarrassed the Jackets. I mean, the score was 6-2, but it could very easily have been 9-2. The Jackets looked completely flat, and had no answers for anything Calgary did. So, Saturday night was a trip to Chicago, and the Jackets promptly fell behind 2-0. Another rout, right? WRONG! The Jackets rallied for a 3-2 win over the Stanley Cup Champs. So, up next? Their fourth game in six nights, with the reigning Eastern Conference Champs come to Columbus. Wheeee!
|LW:||Scott Hartnell||Dan Carcillo||James van Riemsdyk||Jody Shelley|
|C:||Danny Briere||Mike Richards||Claude Giroux||Blair Betts|
|RW:||Ville Leino||Jeff Carter||Nikolay Zherdev||Darroll Powe|
|D:||Chris Pronger||Kimmo Timonen||Andrej Meszaros|
|D:||Matt Carle||Braydon Coburn||Sean O’Donnell|
Columbus Blue Jackets:
|LW:||Rick Nash||R.J. Umberger||Nikita Filatov||Jared Boll|
|C:||Derick Brassard||Antoine Vermette||Sammy Pahlsson||Derek MacKenzie|
|RW:||Jakub Voracek||Derek Dorsett||Chris Clark||Kyle Wilson|
|D:||Jan Hejda||Rostislav Klesla||Fedor Tyutin|
|D:||Anton Stralman||Marc Methot||Nick Holden|
PHI – 2.57 gpg (t22nd NHL)
CBJ – 2.57 gpg (t22nd NHL)
PHI – 2.71 gapg (t15th NHL)
CBJ – 3.00 gapg (t21st NHL)
PHI – 9.1% (24th NHL)
CBJ – 10.3% (23rd NHL)
PHI – 89.7% (5th NHL)
CBJ – 82.9% (t17th NHL)
This is the first and only matchup of the season. Columbus finished 0-1-0 vs. Philadelphia last season.
10/25/10 – Philadelphia @ Columbus – 7:00 PM EDT
I’ve learned my lesson. Despite their .500 start, I have nothing but positive things to say about the Flyers. No more fat-guy metaphors like what I trotted out on Friday. The Flyers are great! In all seriousness, the Flyers have started out about the same as the Jackets. They look great one night, and struggle the next. The Jackets have been excellent on the road (3-0, including the “road” win in Sweden, and a close “home” loss in Sweden as well) and bipolar at Nationwide arena (one win, two ugly losses). So, who’s showing up tonight?
Coach Scott Arniel shook up his lines on Saturday night with some decent results. Antoine Vermette and RJ Umberger looked solid together, including two goals (one was a PP goal), though it remains to be seen if Derek Dorsett can hang on that scoring line. The new “top” line of Nash—Brassard—Voracek managed to create a goal (by Brassard, who hopefully has that 900 pound gorilla off his back). Nash also hit a post on another great scoring chance. But, they were going against Chicago’s backup goalie, which of course tempers the results just a bit.
The Jackets send Mathieu Garon out for his second start of the season, and he played well in his first start against Minnesota. It also looks like they will be without Kristian Huselius up front, and that ailing Jared Boll will get to play instead. In the games the Jackets have won, they have been very solid on defense, and one guy who deserves mention is Marc Methot. He looks to have developed quite a bit over the last year, and he’s been arguably the Jackets’ best defensemen through these first seven games. He’s got four assists—including two on Saturday—and is +4 through seven games while leading the team in average ice-time each night.
Philly hasn’t been setting the world on fire on offense, but they are a stout defensive club that is very physical. The Jackets got into trouble on Friday at home against Calgary when they let the Flames dictate the tempo of the game; they effectively skated circles around the Jackets, outhit the Jackets, and Columbus couldn’t find the gear to catch up with them. Columbus can’t allow the Flyers to do the same tonight. The Jackets came out on Saturday with some extra jump and got some good scoring chance. It allowed them not to feel buried when they fell behind 2-0 in the first period to Chicago. And, as the cherry on top of the Sunday, the Jackets fired 20 shots in the third period alone against the Hawks, a night after notching only 22 shots in the entire game against the Flames.
So, these are the Jackets that will be successful: the ones that work hard, get tons of shots on net, and work hard to create havoc. If they can impose their will on the Flyers tonight, I like their chances. But, the Flyers are still a solid, strong team. They got back in the win column against Toronto on Saturday to end a three-game skid. They’ve had a revolving door in net between Brian (High Quality H2O) Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky. After the win Saturday, Boucher looks to get another start tonight. Also in the building for the Flyers are former Jackets malcontent Nikolay Zherdev and former Jackets fan favorite/tough guy Jody Shelley.
Columbus needs to work hard to shut down the Dan Carillo—Mike Richards—Jeff Carter line, as those three players combined for three goals and an assist in the Flyers’ 5-3 win last year—with no help from Richards. Garon started in that game, as well, and was pulled after giving up some soft goals, including one from Carter which was poked in directly from the faceoff dot in a quick surprise move.
If the Jackets can pick up where they left off in the last period of Saturday’s game and generate a ton of shots while getting bodies to the net, I like their chances tonight. If they let Philly dictate the tempo of the game and play back on their heels, it could be another long night. Will the real Jackets please stand up?
Next Game For The Jackets
Thursday, October 28, 2010
7:00 PM EDT
Edmonton Oilers @ Columbus Blue Jackets