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Blue Jackets Links

Game #53: Blue Jackets at HAAAARD GAAAAY WOOOOOOOO!! (Flames)

Friday, February 02, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 21-26-5
On the road: 9-16-2
Last 10: 5-4-1
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Jackets look to regain intensity - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)

After a day off, the Blue Jackets are going to be looking to bounce back against a team that they've so far had mixed results against: the Calgary Flames. Going in to tonight, the teams have split the season series 1-1, and both games were extremely rough nailbiters due to the close, one-goal differential each time. Interestingly enough, as Matt at Battle of Alberta points out, the teams haven't had a game end with more than a one goal differential since all the way back in 2003. Talk about agonizing.

The top lines have been mostly dormant with the exception of David Vyborny, who is pretty much always reliable for at least an assist whenever the Jackets score during a game. Meanwhile, Anson Carter has had a little bit of a resurgence recently, scoring 3 points in 3 games (2 goals, 1 assist).

As well, Dan Fritsche is riding a five game scoring streak, in which he's potted four goals and had an assist. Here's an interesting stat for you: whenever Fritsche scores a goal during a game, the Jackets are 8-2-1, the two losses coming against Detroit and Nashville and the OTL coming from a shootout loss against St. Louis. He also holds the GWG for four games this season. In other words, Fritsche is big money when the game is on the line ... but a lot of us have figured that out recently, huh?

I already went in to a large diatribe about this team's power play explosion and penalty killing implosion, so I'll just skim over that. Let's just say that if this team does not convert on the PP and does not batten down the hatches on the PK tonight, there's more than likely going to be Hell to pay from the fans, as well as Hitchcock. Why? Well, find out below!

Team: Calgary Flame(rs)
Record: 27-17-6
At home: 15-10-2
Last 10: 6-2-2
Bloggers and local media:
The Battle of Alberta
double (d)ion
Five Hole Fanatics
Back in the line of fire - Calgary Sun

24th on the power play. 25th on the penalty kill.

Now you see why I said what I did about the Jackets having to desperately, desperately continue their success on the PP while trying to fix their PK post-haste. This is the perfect opportunity to pad both special team ranks, against a team which looks like it couldn't tell a blue line from a red line when they're down a man.

But even with that in mind, the Flames have not lost in regulation since the middle of January (five straight games with standing points), and they have not lost at home since a full month ago (a 3-2 loss to Vancouver on the 2nd of January).

Another interesting stat to throw out there, in honor of Matt's comment of the past umpteen games between these two teams only being decided by a one goal difference: the Flames have played in 20 games so far this season where it was decided by one goal, and shootout losses not withstanding are 7-7-6 ... solidly .500, which means that when the game's on the line, it can really go either way depending on how their big name players like Miika Kiprusoff are playing that night.

Tonight, Flames' stud and superstar Jarome Iginla could very well return from a sprained knee he suffered almost a month ago in Florida, adding some extremely deadly firepower back in to their lineup that could easily overpower the Jackets if they're not extremely alert on defense. With 53 points in just 39 games this season, it's hard not to believe that he would not have been in the top five of scoring if he'd not missed almost a dozen of the Flames' games so far this season.

Game starts in less than an hour from when I am wrapping up this post. Here's hoping this Blue Jackets' team can bounce back after a depressing end to a four-game winning streak.

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Name: Michael
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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