The Columbus Blue Jackets have a tough two games on tap this weekend; away against the Pens and home against the Sharks. Tonight they travel to Pittsburgh to pluck the feathers from the Penguins. With players such as Crosby, Malkin and company, they will have to be hard charging right from the drop of the puck.
The Blue Jackets have gotten away from their core game of playing “Hitch Hockey” and they need to return to it to come out of the weekend with a pair of wins. The Blue Jackets have had success against Eastern Conference teams this season, going 8-2-1 so far. Only the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild are better against Eastern teams. Overall, the Western Conference has a 99-62-17 record against the East to this point in the season.
The name of the game tonight wil be “Check ‘em hard! Forecheck, backcheck, Check ‘em into the river!” The Blue Jackets are coming off two losses that have left a bad taste in their collective mouths. They understand how important every game is with only six (6) points seperating 6th place from 14th. The mentality of the team has to be “every game is a playoff game”.
The Blue Jackets are doing without the services of rookie sensation Steve Mason in goal tonight. Wade Dubielewicz will make his first start in net for the Blue Jackets tonight. Mason is still fighting the lingering aftereffects of a bout with Mononucleosis. Coach Ken Hitchcock has not determined whether Mason will start tomorrow against the Sharks. The Jackets are also going to be without the services of defenseman Marc Methot, as he didn’t make the trip to battle the flu. Dubie has to be sharp tonight. Real sharp. He will face a plethora of shots from all of the snipers the Pittsburgh Penguins have. The Pens will come out strong while riding the high of the win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games while the Pittsburgh Penguins are the same at 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. Expect a spirited, hard checking game to be fought in the confines of Mellon Arena tonight. The puck drops at 7:30.
Carry The Flag !!!