There are just two lineup changes expected for the Blue Jackets tonight: center Samuel Pahlsson, out of the lineup on Tuesday as well as Wednesday’s practice, will return to the lineup for Columbus after battling a brief illness.
Also, Curtis Sanford was the first goaltender off the ice following today’s morning skate, meaning he is the likely starter for the Blue Jackets vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
Here is the projected Kings lineup for tonight’s game at Nationwide Arena:
|LW ||C ||RW |
|Gagne ||Kopitar ||Brown |
|Penner ||Stoll ||Williams |
|Richardson ||Loktionov ||Lewis |
|Clifford ||Fraser ||Westgarth |
|LD ||RD |
|Scuderi ||Doughty |
|Drewiske ||Martinez |
|Johnson ||Greene |
- Off to a fast start: The Kings aren’t feeling too good about themselves right now, having lost five consecutive games and having an elephant in the room with their coaching situation. They didn’t look too good in the early stages vs. the Bruins, and the Blue Jackets need to start quickly and take control of the game.
- Prevent the cycle: Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel liked the way his top line didn’t allow time and space to the Sedin twins on Tuesday, and that was primarily due to cutting off their cycle and taking them off their game. The Kings have a big group of forwards that prefer a similar style, and if they’re proactive about it, the Blue Jackets should have more time with the puck.
- Special teams awareness: This key could be repeated throughout the season, but is even more important when playing a team with so many skilled players. Los Angeles has two of the top offensive defensemen in the league (Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty) that are dangerous every time they touch the puck. Putting the Kings on the power play could help them build momentum – something the Blue Jackets must be cognizant of.
QUOTABLESArniel on keeping the Kings’ forwards in check:
Scott Arniel on building momentum: “It’s all about points for us. We have to dictate the game; we can’t sit back and wait and see what they’re going to do. Against Vancouver, we took the initiative and got after them on the forecheck. It’s no different tonight against LA – if there’s doubt out there, we have to put it in their minds.”
“You can’t let them play their game. You don’t allow Doughty and Johnson to have the puck and be a part of the offense. They have real good forwards that cycle down low; you’ve got to do a good job of taking away their strengths, and that’s one of them. This is a team that we can’t allow them to use the whole ice – when pucks do get to the top, we have to get inside position. They have some real big bodies that like to get on top of the goaltender.”
AT THE ARENA VS. LOS ANGELES
Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:
•Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:07 p.m. puck drop.
•The Blue Jackets take the ice around 6:30 p.m. for pre-game warm-ups. Interested in their pre-game play list? Check out the scoreboard or follow @CBJ_DJ on twitter.
• It’s the second-to-last night for the Lady Jackets Player Favorite Basket Auction and Raffle tickets are only $10 for your chance to win Rick Nash or Derek Dorsett’s basket. Stop by the Bud Light Terrace to get a glimpse of every player’s basket with proceeds benefiting CHOICES and the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.
• Want to keep your Blue Jackets evening going well after the game? Stop by the Labatt Blue Zone for the White Castle Post-Game Radio Show and grab a beverage at the pub which stays open for an hour after the game.
• Just purchased your Christmas tree and still need to decorate it? The CBJ Foundation is selling mystery ornaments signed by your favorite player. They’ll fit perfect next nestled in the twinkling lights on your tree.