Aside from Derek Dorsett being out with an injury and Dane Byers’ call-up, the Blue Jackets do not anticipate any lineup changes vs. Vancouver. Steve Mason will be in goal for Columbus – his first start in 12 games, and Roberto Luongo is the starter for the Canucks.
Center Samuel Pahlsson missed today’s morning skate as he was “under the weather,” coach Scott Arniel said, but he is expected to play.
Here is the projected Canucks lineup for tonight’s game at Nationwide Arena:
|LW ||C ||RW |
|D. Sedin ||H. Sedin ||Burrows |
|Higgins ||Kesler ||Hansen |
|Raymond ||Hodgson ||Lapierre |
|Sweatt ||Malhotra ||Weise |
|LD ||RD |
|Hamhuis ||Bieksa |
|Edler ||Salo |
|Rome ||Ballard |
- Finish checks in the offensive zone: The Canucks and coach Alain Vigneault love to activate their defense and engage in a “four-man” press that feeds off their transition game. In order to prevent that, the Blue Jackets need to finish their checks on Canucks defensemen in the Vancouver zone, which will slow their ability to join the rush.
- Get to Luongo early: Columbus has had success against Luongo in the past, and a large part of that comes from traffic in front of him. The Blue Jackets’ ability to overload the front of the net and generate secondary scoring chances will go a long way toward deciding the outcome of tonight’s game.
- Strong on the boards: Vancouver is a team that wants to pressure opponents using its “all-out” attack style, and isn’t afraid to its defensemen on hard pinches along the walls in the offensive zone. The Blue Jackets need to win their fair share of board battles to regain possession of the puck and start their transition up the ice. The less time the Canucks have to cycle, the better.
James Wisniewski, on how to beat the Canucks: “You can’t give them a lot of time and space, but you can’t play too physical because they’re so shifty and fast and get away from you. (On the power play) they have five guys that can really make you pay. We’re up for a big challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Scott Arniel, on Steve Mason’s return to the net: “The game that we’re playing as a group right now will be a better game in front of Steve. He’s a professional – he wants to be in the net. Steve wants that role of being a top goaltender, and he hasn’t had that for a couple of weeks. I’m sure he thought he was going to get thrown in earlier than this, but this is his chance. I’m not judging him on this one game alone. Hopefully he’s feeling good about himself, and hopefully we’re doing the right things to help him tonight and games after that.”
AT THE ARENA VS. VANCOUVER
Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:
•Doors will open at 5:30 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.
•The Lady Jackets are giving you an inside look at the player’s favorite items with their Player Favorite Basket Auction and Raffle. Stop by the Bud Light Terrace to get a glimpse of what’s in your favorite player’s basket with proceeds benefiting CHOICES and the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.
•If you haven’t ventured to Chef’s Corner across from Section 108 – you’re missing signature sandwiches from the Nationwide Arena chef’s. The Chef’s make them to order – guaranteeing a delicious bite from start to finish.
•Are you ready for some FREE pizza? Watch out for the Pepsi Power Patrol – they’ll be tossing Papa John’s pizza boxes into the stands tonight for you to snag.
•Still not finished with your holiday shopping? Stop by the Foundation Kiosk at Section 111 to purchase a Pucks and Paws Pet Calendar featuring Blue Jackets players and puppies from Canine Companions for Independence®. They’re selling fast so don’t miss out!