Right back at it. These two teams opened their seasons yesterday with the Sharks winning a close one with a late Power Play goal. But, the Jackets more than held their own on the stat sheet against a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. This time, the Jackets are the road team as these two teams get after it again less than 24 hours later. The Jackets have plenty to build on from the first game, but plenty to fix as well. And, there were plenty of chippy moments in the opener, so this game could have an edge to it on both sides, as the opener saw two fights and almost a third, coupled with 17 combined minor penalties and 13 combined Power Plays.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
|LW:||Kristian Huselius||Nikita Filatov||Ethan Moreau||Jared Boll|
|C:||Antoine Vermette||Derick Brassard||Sammy Pahlsson||Derek MacKenzie|
|RW:||Rick Nash||Jakub Voracek||R.J. Umberger||Derek Dorsett|
|D:||Jan Hejda||Fedor Tyutin||Rostislav Klesla|
|D:||Anton Stralman||Marc Methot||Mike Commodore|
San Jose Sharks:
|LW:||Dany Heatley||Devin Setoguchi||Torrey Mitchell||John McCarthy|
|C:||Logan Couture||Joe Thornton||Joe Pavelsky||Scott Nichol|
|RW:||Patrick Marleau||Jamie McGinn||Ryane Clowe||Frazier McLaren|
|D:||Douglas Murray||Niclas Wallin||Jason Demers|
|D:||Dan Boyle||Marc-Edouard Vlasic||Kent Huskins|
Team Rankings (2009-2010)
SJS – 3.13 gpg (4th NHL)
CBJ – 2.61 gpg (t20th NHL)
SJS – 2.55 gapg (8th NHL)
CBJ – 3.04 gapg (24th NHL)
SJS – 21.0% (4th NHL)
CBJ – 18.2% (14th NHL)
SJS – 85.0% (4th NHL)
CBJ – 81.7% (17th NHL)
Columbus finished 1-2-1 vs. San Jose last season.
1. 10/08/10 – San Jose 3, Columbus 2 – (in Stockholm, Sweden) – recap
2. 10/9/10 – Columbus @ San Jose (in Stockholm, Sweden) – 3:00 PM EDT
3. 11/20/10 – Columbus @ San Jose – 10:30 PM EST
4. 02/09/11 – San Jose @ Columbus – 7:00 PM EST
Don’t be surprised if the Sharks mix up their lineups. Now that they’re the home team, they get the second matchup on line changes, so it wouldn’t be out of the question if the Sharks loaded up on their top two lines to force the Jackets into a bad matchup. The big line up notes for each time are in goal: the Jackets elect to go with Steve Mason again, whereas the Sharks go with their “1B” goalie in Antero Niittymaki.
What we saw in the opener was a fairly evenly matched contest, with the Sharks able to score late on the Power Play to take the win. But, the Jackets outworked the Sharks in almost every category. The notable exception—other than the scoreboard—was on special teams. The Jackets did manage a lot of chances—and a goal—on their Power Play, but the Sharks were solid on the Penalty Kill and were able to keep Columbus at bay. Conversely, the Sharks got two of their three goals on the PP, and the Jackets’ PK looked shaky at times. Hopefully, special teams can be corrected and the Jackets won’t die a slow death by the PK.
The Jackets outshot the Sharks in the opener, and that trend will need to continue today if Columbus wants a shot at a split before heading home. But, in addition to generating shots, they need to generate good shots and genuine scoring chances, and frankly they have to be better about burying their chances. This is not a new problem for Columbus, as in the past they have been notorious for generating a ton of shots with few results. But, the first step is to generate the chances, and I have to give Columbus (and possibly their new emphasis on offense?) credit for outshooting a tough, tough offensive team in the Sharks.
There is a little pressure on Mason, as he allowed a very soft goal barely two minutes in to the opener, and immediately the Jackets were forced to play from behind. Mason has to be better on the stopable shots, and can’t allow a team like San Jose to cap easy chances, especially early. The Jackets’ suspect defense definitely tightened up at even strength as the game went on.
The other focus for Columbus needs to be special teams. They were decent but not great on the PP in game 1, and need to build on that. The big improvement needs to come on the PK, where they will again face a lethal PP unit from the Sharks. Step 1 would be to limit the silly penalties, but beyond that they need to stay at home and limit the Sharks’ chances on the man advantage.
At this point, it’s unsure whether or not Columbus will get defenseman Kris Russell back, and also whether or not Scott Arniel will make lineup changes. He cited his second line (Filatov—Brassard—Voracek) as needing to generate more offense. Russell for his part said he’s ready to play.
…With a Little Help from My Friends
Next Game For The Jackets
Friday, October 15, 2010
7:00 PM EDT
Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets