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Blue Jackets Weekly Report: Surging Blue Jackets Host Division Rival Blackhawks, Visit Panthers this Week

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

THIS WEEK'S GAME SCHEDULE (Times ET)


Wed., Mar. 18 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, Nationwide Arena - 7 p.m. FSO HD/1460, CD101
Sat., Mar. 21 at Florida Panthers, BankAtlantic Center - 7 p.m. FSO/1460, CD101

FSO – FOX Sports Ohio; 1460 – WBNS-AM 1460 The Fan; CD101 – CD101.1 FM

BLUE JACKETS AT A GLANCE
Record:
36-28-6, 78 pts./3rd Central Division… Streak: Lost last game… Home: 22-11-2, lost last game… Road: 14-17-4, won two-straight… Last Week’s Results: 3-1-0… Mar. 10 – at Columbus 2, Boston 0… Mar. 12 – at Columbus 4, Pittsburgh 3 (SO)… Mar. 13 – Columbus 5, at Chicago 3… Mar. 15 – Detroit 4, at Columbus 0.

WESTERN CONFERENCE "MARCH TO THE PLAYOFFS"

Standings as of Mar. 16 (*division leaders)

  Team
GP Record Pts. Games Left Games Left - Home Games Left - Away Opp. this Week
1. X-*Detroit 70 46-15-9 101 12 7 5 PHI, at ATL
2.
X-*San Jose
68 45-13-10 100 14 7 7 at PHX, NSH, DAL, COL
3. *Calgary 69 40-23-6 86 13 7 6 DAL, STL
4. Chicago 67 37-21-9 83 15 9 6 at NJ, at CBJ, EDM, LA
5. Vancouver 68 36-23-9 81 14 6 8 DAL, STL, at PHX
6. Columbus 70 36-28-6 78 12 6 6 CHI, at FLA
7. Dallas 69 33-28-8 74 13 5 8 at VAN, at CGY, at SJ
8. Edmonton 68 32-27-9 73 14 8 6 STL, at COL, at CHI, at MIN
9. Nashville 69 34-30-5 73 13 5 8 at LA, at ANA, at SJ
10. St. Louis
69 32-29-8 72 13 4 9 at EDM, at VAN, at CGY
11. Minnesota 69 32-29-8 72 13 6 7 COL, at NJ, EDM
12. Anaheim
69 32-31-6 70 13 6 7 NSH, at PHX, PHX
13. Los Angeles 68 29-29-10 68 14 4 10 NSH, at BOS, at PITT, at CHI

OPPONENTS AT A GLANC
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (37-21-9, 83 pts./2nd Central Division):
Head Coach Joel Quenneville… The Hawks are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games… Chicago is the fourth-highest scoring team in the NHL (3.24 goals per game) and ranks fifth in goals-against (2.58).… Club is led by second-year standouts RW Patrick Kane (23-38-61, 13 PPG in 65 games) and C Jonathan Toews (28-30-58, 11 PPG and six GWG in 67 games), along with RW Martin Havlat (21-37-58 in 66 games)… G Cristobal Huet is 19-14-3 with a 2.46 GAA, .911 SV% and three shutouts in 38 games… The Blue Jackets are 22-22-4 all-time vs. the Blackhawks, including 13-9-2 at home… Columbus is 18-13-2 since the start of the 2003-04 season… Chicago won the first two meetings – 4-3 in a shootout at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 1 and 3-1 at United Center on Dec. 14 – before the Jackets earned a 5-3 win in Chicago on Mar. 13.

FLORIDA PANTHERS (34-25-10, 78 pts./3rd Southeast Division): Head Coach: Peter Deboer… Florida is vying for its first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance since 1999-00 and enters the week ninth in the Eastern Conference (one point behind eighth place Carolina)… The Panthers rank seventh in the NHL in penalty killing (82.8 pct.) and ninth-T in goals-against average (2.72)… Florida is led by C Stephen Weiss (11-39-50, +17 in 65 games), LW David Booth (26-21-47, nine PPG in 59 games) and D Jay Bouwmeester (13-22-35, eight PPG in 69 games)… G Tomas Vokoun is 22-19-5 with a 2.50 GAA, .925 SV% and six shutouts in 50 games… The Jackets are 3-4-0 all-time vs. the Panthers, including 2-2-0 on the road… The Panthers won the last meeting, 5-2, at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 21, 2007… Columbus earned a 5-4 overtime win in its last visit to Florida on Jan. 14, 2006.

 

SCHEDULE, Mar. 17-23 (times subject to change)
Tuesday, Mar. 17       Dispatch Ice Haus - 10:30 a.m. ET
Wednesday, Mar. 18 Nationwide Arena - 10:30 a.m. ET
Thursday, Mar. 19      Dispatch Ice Haus - 11 a.m. ET
Friday, Mar. 20            Dispatch Ice Haus - 10:30 a.m. ET
Saturday, Mar. 21       BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, FL - 11:30 a.m. ET
Sunday, Mar. 22         Ice Sports Forum, Tampa, FL - 11 a.m. ET
Monday, Mar. 23        St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL - 2 p.m. ET

 

OhioHealth INJURY REPORT
C Derick Brassard (dislocated shoulder, Dec. 18) will miss the rest of the season… LW Fredrik Modin (Mar. 5 at Nashville) is day-to-day… D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Injured Reserve, Feb. 21) is expected to miss four to six weeks… LW Jason Chimera (Injured Rerserve, Mar. 2) is expected to miss four to five weeks… D Marc Methot (Mar. 12 vs. Pittsburgh) is day-to-day… Man Games Lost to Injury: 286.

 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

VERMETTE SETTLING IN QUITE NICELY: C Antoine Vermette has wasted no time making an impact since coming to the Blue Jackets in a deadline day trade from Ottawa. In five games, he has tallied 3-3-6, fired off 12 shots, is +2 and has won 61.4 pct. (70-of-114) of the face-offs he has taken. He picked up points in his first four games with the club, including his first multi-point game (1-1-2) vs. Pittsburgh on Mar. 12 and his first multi-goal game (two) the following night at Chicago. He has now tallied 12-22-34 in 67 games this season.

NASH SETS ANOTHER CLUB RECORD, CLOSING IN ON CAREER HIGH IN POINTS: All-Star LW Rick Nash set a franchise record when he scored his fifth shorthanded goal of the season at Chicago on Mar. 13, breaking the previous mark of four he shared with David Vyborny. He has collected 10-8-18 in the last 15 games to raise his season totals to 33-33-66 in 66 games. He is three points shy of matching his single season high in points (69, 2007-08) and needs eight goals to match the career-high 41 he scored in 2003-04.

MASON NABS TWO CLUB MARKS: Rookie G Steve Mason made 38 saves and stopped all three Pittsburgh shootout attempts in a 4-3 win over the Penguins on Mar. 12. The win was Mason's 28th of the season, breaking the previous franchise record of 27 set by Marc Denis in 2002-03. Two nights earlier, he turned aside 35 shots in a 2-0 win over Boston to record his league-leading ninth shutout, matching the club record set by Pascal Leclaire in 2007-08. His nine shutouts are the most by a rookie since 1969-70 when Chicago’s Tony Esposito set the NHL record for shutouts by a rookie with 15.

 

TEAM NOTES

JACKETS HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT, RESILIENT IN '08-09: With a 36-28-6 mark through 70 games, the Blue Jackets are enjoying the best season in franchise history. One key to that success has been the club's consistency. In breaking down the season in 10-game segments, Columbus has a winning record in five of the seven segments with a .500 or better mark in the last four (Gms 1-10: 4-6-0; Gms. 11-20: 5-2-3; Gms. 21-30: 4-6-0; Gms. 31-40: 5-4-1; Gms. 41-50: 6-3-1; Gms. 51-60: 6-3-1; Gms. 61-70: 6-4-0). The Jackets have also posted winning records in four-straight months for the first time (Oct.: 4-6-0; Nov.: 6-4-3; Dec.: 7-6-1; Jan.: 7-5-1; Feb.: 7-4-1; Mar.: 5-3-0). Another key to the club's success has been its resiliency. The Jackets have lost a season-high three-straight games on three occasions and each time responded with a string of victories (Oct. 24-27: 4-0-2 in the next six games; Dec. 4-7: 7-3-1 in the next 10 games; Jan. 31-Feb. 6: 6-0-1 in the next seven games).

GO EAST YOUNG MEN!: The Blue Jackets have gone 12-3-1 in games against Eastern Conference teams this season, outscoring the opposition 44 to 25… G Steve Mason has gone 11-1-0 with a 1.06 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and six shutouts in 12 games against the Eastern Conference… C R.J. Umberger also tallied 9-2-11 and has a plus/minus rating of +6 in 16 games against the East this season.

JACKETS SET SINGLE GAME ATTENDANCE RECORD: A standing room only crowd of 19,167 attended the Blue Jackets-Pittsburgh game at Nationwide Arena on Mar. 12, marking the largest crowd in franchise history… Since Dec. 27, the Blue Jackets have averaged 16,783 fans at 18 home games with six sellout crowds of 18,144 or more… Through 35 home games, the club's average attendance is 15,407. Last year, Columbus average 14,509 in 41 home games with two sellouts.

MISCELLANEOUS: Since beginning the season 3-6-0 in their first nine games, the Jackets have gone 33-22-6… Columbus has posted a 14-8-1 record since the All-Star break… With 12 games remaining, the Blue Jackets have already set a franchise records for wins (36; 35-43-4 in 2005-06) and are one win shy of marks for home wins (22; 23-18-0 in 2005-06) and road wins (14; 15-23-3, 2006-07)… The Blue Jackets went 4-1-0 in their last five games against four opponents – Detroit (2x), Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago – with a combined record of 165-79-35 (.654 winning pct.).

 

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS
WEDNESDAY, MAR. 18 VS. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS:
"alive! Jackets Night Out" – All fans ages 21 and older receive one ticket, one Donatos Pizza and one beer for one low price. Upper Bowl packages are $30 per ticket, while Lower Bowl packages are $50 per ticket… "Schwebel's GIANT Deal" offers two tickets and one Stinger's Kids Meal (hot dog, small soda, chips and cookies) for just $45… "Rush CBJ Student Tickets presented by Raising Canes" – High School and College students can get Blue Jackets tickets for student prices one hour before games at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office. Upper bowl seats are just $15, lower bowl seats are just $25.

THURSDAY, MAR. 26 VS. CALGARY FLAMES: "All You Can Eat Pack – This package includes one ticket in the AAA Sky Terrace and an All You Can Eat Buffet for just $39… "Schwebel's GIANT Deal" offers two tickets and one Stinger's Kids Meal (hot dog, small soda, chips and cookies) for just $45. "Rush CBJ Student Tickets presented by Raising Canes" – High School and College students can get Blue Jackets tickets for student prices one hour before games at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office. Upper bowl seats are just $15, lower bowl seats are just $25.

 

PROMOTIONS & CONTESTS
"DESINATIONWIDE" CONTEST TO GIVE A LUCKY FAN TWO TICKETS TO NATIONWIDE ARENA EVENTS FOR ONE YEAR: Donatos Pizza, Pepsi, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena and QFM96 radio are teaming up to present the fifth annual "Destinationwide" contest in which one lucky fan will win a pair of tickets to nearly every game, concert and special event at Nationwide Arena over the next year. The grand prize winner will be announced at the Blue Jackets FANtastic FANale game on Saturday, April 11 against the Minnesota Wild. Fans can enter the by registering online at www.qfm96.com today through Sunday, March 29. Beginning Monday, March 30, QFM96's morning show, Wags & Elliott, will draw two qualifiers from the registrant pool each weekday morning between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Each qualifier will win a Blue Jackets pack of merchandise, a $25 Donatos gift card, a Pepsi prize pack, and an invitation to the Blue Jackets FANtastic FANale on Saturday, April 11. The 10 qualifiers plus one "wild card" entrant selected at the game will be highlighted during an in-game break where Wags & Elliott will facilitate a random drawing for the grand prize winner.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH "MARCH TO THE PLAYOFFS" TICKET OFFER AT GIANT EAGLE: The Blue Jackets and The Columbus Dispatch have introduced a "March to the Playoffs" ticket offer in which shoppers who buy The Columbus Dispatch at participating Giant Eagle locations will find an insert containing a special discount offer for select Blue Jackets home games in March. The specially-marked newspapers will be in stores throughout the month and allow customers to take advantage of a $10 discount off select upper level seating areas and $15 off select lower level seats. The discounts may be redeemed online at BlueJackets.nhl.com/dispatch.htm or in person at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office. Fans may choose from the following games – Mar. 18 vs. Chicago; Mar. 26 vs. Calgary and Mar. 31 vs. Nashville.

SUNSHINE VACATIONS "PLAYER FOR THE DAY" CONTEST UNDERWAY: Sunshine Vacations is giving one lucky fan the chance to be a Blue Jacket with the "Player for a Day" online contest. The grand prize winner will sign a one-day contract with a member of the team’s front office on Tuesday, Mar. 31 prior to the Blue Jackets game against the Nashville Predators. Upon “signing,” the winner will receive a personalized jersey, a $500 signing bonus and four tickets to watch the game in the front line seats between the team benches. The complete game day experience also includes the opportunity to watch the Blue Jackets morning skate and the chance to be on the home team’s bench during pre-game warm-ups. Player for a Day registration runs now through Mar. 24 on www.BlueJackets.com.

JACKETS ALERTS FROM VERIZON WIRELESS: The "Jackets Alerts" program gives fans the opportunity to sign up to have breaking team news, game information and exclusive offers sent directly to their Verizon Wireless phone. By texting the word JACKETS to 79376, fans will be automatically signed up for the 2008-09 season. Standard messaging rates apply and service availability is on a carrier by carrier basis and based on handset compatibility.

FANS – SHOW THE BLUE JACKETS HOW YOU "CARRY THE FLAG": BlueJackets.com is giving fans the opportunity to show how they Carry the Flag! The team's official website is looking for creative content provided by fans about their favorite NHL team. Fans can visit www.BlueJackets.com and submit creative game previews or recaps (pdf, doc, txt), videos (wmv), photos (jpg, jpeg, gif formats no bigger than 1000 x 1000 pixels) or audio clips (mp3 or mpg) and the best submissions will be posted on the team’s website.

BLUE JACKETS ON THE RADIO
The Coach's Show with Ken Hitchcock airs on WBNS Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan and AM1460 on Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Blue Jackets Head Coach, FOX Sports Ohio's Jeff Rimer and WBNS Radio's Bruce Hooley… Breakfast with the Blue Jackets can be heard on the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan and AM1460 on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. with hosts Mark Wyant and members of the Blue Jackets broadcast team.

 

TICKET INFORMATION
SINGLE GAME:
Tickets are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Team Stores at the Chiller Easton, Chiller Dublin, Chiller North and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com... SEASON & GROUP TICKETS: For information on season tickets, six-game and 10-game plans, and group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS… HUNTINGTON GREEN SEATS: A minimum of 250 tickets are available for just $10 at the Nationwide Arena Box Office two hours prior to every home game.

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