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Blue Jackets Links

Game #02: Blue Jackets at Blackhacks.

Saturday, October 07, 2006
Columbus Blue Jackets (0-0-1)

at

Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0)


After last night's debacle in large part thanks to the Sedin Twins and their third period/overtime antics, the Blue Jackets now have an opportunity to play against a team which has been projected below Columbus since even before the pre-season started: the Chicago Blackhawks.

But let's take that with a grain of salt for now. Consider the fact that Chicago won their first game, and with a sick output of offense at that. It was also against the Central Division favorites, the Nashville Predators. When a team projected to finish dead last manages to beat one of the more popularly picked teams in an 8-6 slugfest of back and forth goals, you need to be on your guard when presuming certain things.

Of note for the Blackhawks is new acquisition Martin Havlat, who had a hand in four of his team's eight goals in that season opener (two goals and two assists). The rest of the team showed that they knew how to share the offensive wealth, with six other players netting each of the other six goals.

Meanwhile, it's pretty obvious that their defense is about as hole-y as swiss cheese, considering they let in six goals. Nikolai Khabibulin got hit for 40 shots in all, so while the save percentage and Goals Against Average aren't pretty, he was about as hung out to dry as Pascal Leclaire was against the Canucks last night. Then again, Leclaire did better, so the Jackets got that going for them.

The Blue Jackets, from their perspective, have to rebound. They can't go trudging into this game moping about what could have been a motivational win on opening night, and let that drag them down. What will help their situation? Alexander Svitov, apparently, has been activated from IR and looks to be ready to play tonight!

Yeah, that surprised me, too. Even more surprising because it was FOX Sport's Fantasy News ticker for the CBJ that first broke that little bit of news, it seems. Either way, this means someone will be sitting out as a healthy scratch unless Svitov is kept out for some last minute reason. There's two ways to look at who you scratch this game: you either keep Mark Hartigan out for his poor defensive prowess last night (even though he had a hand in both goals last night), or you bench Geoff Platt for not producing anything whatsoever. They'll never bench Gilbert Brule unless he scores on his own net, so don't expect him to be said scratch, since the team and the media is enamoured in him, it seems.

One final thing of note is that Zherdev is still trying to get himself back to Columbus. Consider his chance to play tonight 99% unlikely, but chances to play at home on Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes much better.
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