Tonight's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Toronto Maple Leafs
presents an interesting set of circumstances for the visiting squad. Coming off a putrid effort Sunday night in St. Louis, the Blue Jackets will look to exploit one of the league's worst defensive teams and get back on track.
Left winger Rick Nash, born and raised in nearby Brampton
, returns to the place where his hockey dreams budded as a young kid. While it's not the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens, the Air Canada Centre faithful will be looking forward to witnessing one of the NHL's best young players. If things go as normal in such situations, #61 should have a pretty good night.
Pascal Leclaire in net for the Blue Jackets. Hopefully, his defense gives him an easier night than in St. Louis, where the young netminder was peering through mutiple sets of legs on nearly every shot.
Rookie right winger Jared Boll, out recently with bronchitis
, will return to the lineup tonight. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported today that Boll practiced on a line with winger Andrew Murray and center Manny Malhotra. Will he look for a scrap tonight in his first game back? Leaf forward Darcy Tucker, who's on a pretty good offensive clip of late (6 goals in five games), may be a good dance partner. Both are similiar molded players and will likely get under each other's skin quickly.
The top line of Nash, Sergei Fedorov and Fredrik Modin
will have to be better tonight. While Fedorov's transition game was sorely missed in his absence, he is not yet to game speed. His defensive presence in the middle will open up more space for Modin and Nash to work down low, something that the Blue Jackets must do well in order to have success.
REMINDER: The next "Fire the Cannon" podcast on Hockeybuzz.com will feature Blue Jackets color analyst Danny Gare, tomorrow night at 7 pm. You can use the call-in information on Eric Smith's blog, or email myself or him with questions.