Two teams still smarting from 4-1 losses last night meet at Nationwide Arena this evening. The Blue Jackets were beaten by the division rival Blackhawks in Chicago and they host the Wild, who were beaten by the Red Wings in St. Paul by the same score. The loss by the Wild ended a three-game winning streak for Minnesota.
As for the Blue Jackets, they currently sit in 12th place in the Western Conference just one point ahead of the Wild, who have a game in hand and thus the importance of getting a win on home ice tonight.
The Jackets must find a way to reverse their fortunes of late, with only three wins in their last 15 games (3-9-3) they can not afford to fall further back in the race for a playoff spot. I thought they played well for two periods last night but they HAVE TO FIND a way to score! The Jackets certainly had their opportunities in the first two periods and it wasn't as if Marty Turco had that strong a game... the Jackets simply could not cash in on their scoring chances.
The Blue Jackets did a commendable job on the penalty kill, not allowing a shot on the Blackhawks first two power plays and just one shot in their third attempt. However, the two power play goals by Chicago sealed their fate in the third. Scott Arniel, who's patience is certainly being tested, stated "we are obviously fragile again. We played well for 40 minutes, but we must play for 60. We have to work our way out of it."
Steve Mason is expected to be back in net for the Blue Jackets tonight and he will be opposed by the Wild's Joe Theodore who's next win will be his 250th in the NHL. Just a hunch here... I would not be surprised to see Steve Mason make back to back starts, playing in Toronto Thursday. Being from nearby Oakville it will be a little more motivation for the struggling netminder to play well tonight and earn the consecutive starts. Mason's attitude is good and I believe he has worked hard in practice. Toronto born area players always give it a little extra going home. But this is just me thinking out loud. Boy that could be dangerous!
The Wild and Jackets have split the first two games in the season series with each winning 3-2 in the others building.
Tonight's game is going to be telecast nationally on VERSUS. Note the special start time for the telecast it is a 7:30 p.m. puck drop from Nationwide.
We will be back with our next FOX Sports Ohio Telecast Thursday from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.