In terms of the game the Jackets, losers or the past two, take on the streaking Anaheim Ducks, who are winners of their past three.
KEYS TO LIGHTING EM UP
* They need to re-group and re-focus in a hurry against an Anaheim team making a move up the standings.
* Anaheim isn't a high powered offensive squad but they do have 26 goals in 9 games (versus 22 in 8 for the Jackets) so they can score -- Norrena must have a good game. That means no mental lapses playing the puck, etc.
* As Bill Davidge said in his Jackets blog -- Jackets need to make their own breaks.
* I think getting a goal early could really spark this Jackets team tonight. If they fall behind it could balloon out of control.
* The Ducks PP is only 27th in the NHL (how is that possible with Pronger and Niedermeyer) so the Jackets can't afford to let it get back on track. Their 9th ranked PK has played well of late but a lot of that has to do with Leclaire's improved play.
* Secondary scoring. Kids continue to do your thang! If the 3rd/4th line could contribute a goal or two that would be a greatly appreciated bonus.
* Need a big game from the monster Nash.
* Lots of offensive players struggling early for the Ducks including Getzlaf, Prerry, Selanne. Those three have combined for 5 goals in 9 games. Can't let tonight be their big breakout games.
* No passengers tonight. Everybody needs to be in this one for the full 60.
*The Jackets are 2-1 at home and the Ducks are 3-2 on the road. Translation: just because the Jackets play at home doesn't mean a thing against this squad.
Norrena has played spotty hockey at best so how will he respond? Better yet, how short is the leash until a guy like LaCosta might take his place?
The other obvious story is how will this team as a whole respond after the mess in Minny? Hopefully there is "conclusive" evidence that they play a strong tonight.
Bill Davidge from BlueJackets.com:
No big deal?…I beg to differ because the points lost now cannot be replaced…. 2-4 points were lost……can you say April and a possible playoff spot up for grabs?.....also the confidence of a team that deserved better is what irks those of us that have been part of trying to build a winning tradition in a struggling infantile franchise. This is called RESPECT…you earn respect…you do not demand it, but you show up and have to earn those calls. We are in year 8 of this program and still fail to EARN the much needed respect in the league to allow a call to possibly slide our way.
The time is nearing closer for the success of this franchise…but as I sit on the plane on my way back to Columbus, it reminds me of the past days as a young assistant and head coach at Miami University, trying to battle each and every night for respectability. It did not come over night…nor will it be here in Columbus Ohio. Hard work, discipline, and making your own breaks in this game are what it is going to take to get a few of those calls on our side.