Sunday, February 26, 2012

Game #62 - vs Columbus Blue Jackets

2011-12 Game 62

Columbus Blue Jackets (18-36-7, 43 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (35-21-5, 75 points)

Brassard leads the Jackets in points in the month of February

Why does it matter?

The Blue Jackets are terrible.  They're the worst team in the NHL by nearly any standard.  They've just traded away much of their offense.  Why does this make them dangerous to the Pens?  Because they have a bunch of guys fighting for jobs, and money talks.  Also, they'll have Curtis Sanford back, and his numbers are pretty decent.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Some luck early led to a laugher against the Bolts.
  • Blue Jackets - They're 4-4-1 in their last nine, including some impressive wins over Anaheim, Minnesota (twice) and San Jose.
Questions to be answered
  • Will the Pens be able to get up for this game?  The Blue Jackets are going to steal some points if the Pens keep having a slow start and keep going to the box.
  • Will we see Brad Thiessen make his NHL debut?  Might not be a bad idea to give Flower some rest.
  • What is up with Dustin Jeffrey?  He didn't seem to be playing all that poorly, but clearly there's something up since he's a healthy scratch.
Keys to the game
  • Jump on them early.  The Bolts Blue Jackets have been sellers with trades, sending out Downie, Moore and Kubina Carter and Vermette.  That has to affect the morale eventually.
  • Generate your own emotions.  Without some of the chippy guys on the other side, the Pens have a tendency to become cold and emotionless.  They need to find a reason to be fired up. 
  • Take them seriously.  I know facing the Bolts Blue Jackets is a long way from the Rangers, but these two points are just as valuable.
Wow - it's almost like they're the same as the game against Tampa Bay...

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