Blue Jackets Look Forward to Upcoming Road Games

Bryan L.Contributor IFebruary 22, 2009

After six games in nine days, the Columbus Blue Jackets finally get to hang up their skates for a two-day break.

The team went 4-1-1 during the strenuous slate of games.

On Saturday, Anaheim invaded Columbus after the Blue Jackets came away with closer than expected victories over St. Louis and Toronto on consecutive nights. 

The game against Anaheim was one-sided as the Ducks skated circles around the depleted Blue Jackets.

Goaltender Steve Mason, who was masterful in the five games leading up to the final stanza, gave up five goals out of 13 shots. There was no doubt Columbus was lacking the stamina and effort that led the team into sole possession of sixth place in the Western Conference standings.

With the loss behind them Columbus will look to rebound on a Canadian road trip. The Jackets will face Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver with two days to rest between each game.

The Flames and Canucks hold the third and fifth spots in the West, while the Oilers are one point out of eight place.

Columbus will face a Calgary team on Tuesday, Feb. 24 that has won five of their last seven games.

But with left wing Rene Bourque out, the Flames may be less physical and lack a serious scoring threat on the left side.

The Blue Jackets then travel to Edmonton to battle the streaky Oilers. After reeling off three straight victories, Edmonton has dropped their last three. 

The Oilers are 4-5 since losing fifth leading scorer Lubomir Visnovsky on Feb. 3 to a season ending shoulder surgery.

Edmonton will rely on other scoring defensemen to get the job done.

Sheldon Souray and Tom Gilbert will look to improve the team's 27th-ranked penalty kill against Columbus' power play, which ranks last in the league. 

The Blue Jackets end the road trip with a visit to General Motors Palace in Vancouver. Currently, they are two points behind the Canucks in the conference standings. 

Vancouver has been on a tear as of late.

The Canucks have won eight of their last nine games. In those eight wins, Vancouver scored under four goals only once.

The Sedin twins, along with Pavol Demitra, seem to be registering points every game. Fedor Tyutin, Mike Commodore, and the rest of the defensemen will need to be prepared for a Vancouver offense that ranks eighth in the league in goals scored.

The match-up will also unite former Ohio State teammates Ryan Kesler and R.J. Umberger.

Every point matters for the Blue Jackets as they continue to climb the Western Conference ladder. While eight points separate fourth from fifth place in the West, only 11 points divides fifth place from 15th. 

If Columbus can come away with four points during their visit to Canada, the team will be on steady ground in the race to fill out the bottom half of the eight available spots in the West.