Tonight, the Blue Jackets begin a three-game West Coast swing against three teams at or near the top of their game. Out here in Los Angeles, the Kings are number one in the West and are the talk of the NHL right now, unbeaten at home and with a 12-4-0 record. Terry Murray has done an outstanding job as head coach of the Kings and it started with last season's playoff appearance, one that was a surprise to many hockey observers.
They surprise no one now and with their success of last season comes the pressure of higher expectations, and with Murray behind the bench the pressure first and foremost comes from within the dressing room.
The Kings can beat you so many ways... goaltending, offense and their physical play. Goaltender Johnathan Quick has won seven in a row, right winger Justin Williams has a career best 10-game point streak going, and the Kings have a pack mentality going right now. When things get physical the players are right there to protect one another.
As for the Blue Jackets, they get a healthy Rick Nash back after missing just one game with a lower body injury. Nash has points in five straight games and goals in each of his last two games. Derek MacKenzie, who's game is speed, is still not one hundred percent and will not dress tonight. Meantime, Mike Commodore will return to the lineup after missing 13 games and will see some time on the Blue Jackets power play.
As for Coach Scott Arniel, his message is a clear one. "We have to compete and come ready to play. If not it's going to be a long night against a team on top of their game."
Puck Drop tonight is set for 10:30 p.m. with Blue Jackets Live kicking things off at 10 p.m. in HD on FOX Sports Ohio.
*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.