The Blue Jackets are riding a wave of momentum after winning their season opener on the road in Nashville, but head coach Todd Richards said they’ll need to be even better if they want to earn their second win of the season tonight in the home opener against the Detroit Red Wings.
“We don’t want to get too comfortable with ourselves. We haven’t proven anything yet,” Richards said after today’s morning skate.
“We still have a long way to go. (Saturday) was a great step. Tonight is a night where we have to take another step.”
The spirits during the morning skate today were lively, but the tone in the locker room afterwards was serious and businesslike. The Blue Jackets are very familiar with the winning tradition of the Red Wings, a tradition that was muted by a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
In short, both teams have a lot to prove tonight.
“I know that they’ve been challenged over there, especially with the last game," James Wisniewski told BlueJackets.com. "That’s not the Detroit Red Wings that anybody knows of, so we know that they’re going to come out… ready to play tonight."
Wisniewski said the Blue Jackets need to play their game – no matter what – and that means staying responsible defensively while putting pressure on the Detroit forwards to take away their time and space to make a play.
Richards also stressed the importance of playing a tight defensive game. According to him, that isn’t just the responsibility of a few defensemen.
“We have to be committed as a group of five, try to force the game, force the puck to the walls,” he said.
Forward Derick Brassard knows the Red Wings will try to make a statement with tonight’s game, but said it’s more important for the Blue Jackets to focus on playing their game to the best of their ability.
“We’re going to be ready for their best," Brassard said. "We have a quick team, that’s what we need to use. I think the guys are pretty confident, especially after the last game. But the last game is in the past, we’re just gonna play hard."
“In a 48-game season, every game is going to be like that,” Wisniewski said about the expected intensity of tonight’s match-up. “There’s no time to get down in a losing streak. You have to come out ready to play and ready to win every single game.”