Tonight's game at Nationwide Arena between the Blue Jackets and the Los Angeles Kings certainly has a distinct "playoff" feel to it. Two of the National Hockey League's hottest teams go head to head, both needing a victory to climb closer to the eighth seed in the wild Western Conference playoff hunt.
The Blue Jackets, winners of five of their last 6 and are 8-3-2 in their last 13. The Jackets begin the night 12th in the conference, five points back of the Calgary Flames who are in the no. 8 hole, while the Kings - the hottest team in the entire League right now - are on a 9 game points streak, unbeaten in regulation in those 9 games (7-0-2).
The Kings are 10th in the conference, just one point out of 8th place. The Kings amazingly are in last place in the Pacific Division with 65 points, but they are just four points back of Phoenix who currently hold the three seed in the West by virtue of the fact they lead the Division.
Los Angeles has two games in hand on the Coyotes, so again while they're 10th in the West they are just four points, with games in hand, from being the third seed... what a race!
Jackets head coach Scott Arniel had high praise for the Kings after today's morning skate saying, "the Kings defend well in the neutral zone, we are going to have to battle, go into the hard places and will need a full 60-minute effort against LA."
The CBJ have picked things up offensively but Arniel knows, having watched the video, the Kings are solid defensively and when their netminders have been tested, both Jonathan Quick - who gets the start tonight - and Jonathan Bernier have been very strong.
And what a game tonight!
Both teams have been off since Sunday after wins on the road, and both are not likely to make any lineup changes as far as skaters are concerned, but with Steve Mason being under the weather we might see Mathieu Garon, a one-time L.A. King, get the start in Goal for the CBJ.
Tonight's game gets underway at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available, but if you are unable to get down to the Arena the game will be on FOX Sports Ohio in standard definition tonight - no HD!
*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.