Posted 11:30 PM ET | Comments 1
Myself and fellow poster "61" are starting a new blog all about the Jackets! We're going to update everyday, and our stories will be relay-posted on here.
Here's the first post:
WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE
We find ourselves in a precarious position for mid-January. It’s called contention.
The Blue Jackets were embarrassed by the Canucks when they last met in Nationwide on October 21. The Jackets, coming off a stellar 3-0 win in Buffalo two nights before, were reduced to pylons by the Canucks. Adding insult to injury, Roberto Luongo took the night off in favor of Curtis Sanford, whose #41 jersey could’ve been easily confused with a #1.
Neither spectacular at home or on the road, the Canucks are a steady bunch. Possessors of big-time scoring talent in the Sedin twins and captain Markus Naslund, the Vancouver offense hasn’t been forced to extraordinary limits because of the play of Luongo.
Luongo is expected to start in Nationwide for the first time since December 22, 2006. Rick Nash scored the eventual game-winner with just over five minutes left.
Fredrik Modin and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen practiced with the team both Friday and Monday, and Curtis Glencross is soon expected to rejoin the team. Modin’s status against Vancouver is uncertain, and Tollefsen will likely be scratched again in favor of Marc Methot.
The newly-formed trio of Zherdev-Peca-Vyborny was superb over the weekend, with Zherdev contributing two goals in Friday’s 6-4 win. Against the Predators on Saturday, he set up Rusty Klesla to tie the game with 9:15 left, and netted the winner in the shootout. Don’t look now, but Slick Nik is just heating up.
Pascal Leclaire will be charged with the goaltending duties yet again, and should receive the bulk of the starts in the coming weeks.
He will square off against the aforementioned Sedins, who combined for five points in a 4-3 shootout win in St.Louis on Sunday. Rookie defenseman Alex Edler scored the shootout winner for the Canucks.
Former Ohio State product Ryan Kesler will look to continue his success in Columbus. In the 4-1 Canucks victory on 10/21, he potted two goals (and the winner) in front of family and friends.
The Jackets must be better on the power play against Vancouver this time around. They wasted ten chances (save the lone goal on a 5-on-3) in the Canucks’ previous visit to Nationwide. Good thing for the Jackets, they’re PP is heating up at the right time.