Saturday, October 22, 2005

GameDay: @ Columbus (2-5-0, 4 Pts) 7:00 ET

Columbus Blue Jackets, Back-to-Back: Game 1 Tonight is the first of eight games the Wings will play against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the first game of a double-header (@Columbus on Monday). Detroit won the season series 4-2-0 in '03-'04. In the last meeting, the Blue Jackets won 4-1 in a meaningless game on April 3, 2004. The Wings are 7-1-0, leading the Central Division with 14 points over Nashville (12), who is still unbeaten at 6-0. The Wings are on a four-game win streak, including a 3-2 win over the Mighty Ducks last night. The Wings are unbeaten on the road so far this season (3-0-0), while the Jackets are 1-1-0 at home. The Blue Jackets are 2-5-0, tied for last in the Central Division (with Chicago) and league with just 4 points. They are coming off a 4-1 victory over San Jose last night, where Adam Foote scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket. After the away-away double-header against the Blue Jackets, the Wings will play an unprecedented three game series against Chicago (home-away-home). That gives the Wings five straight divisional games and a chance to put even more ground between them and the last place Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. The Wings are 27% (14/52) on the power play this season, including 3/8 last night, and 92% (44/48) on the penalty kill. The Blue Jackets are 11% (5/47) on the power play, and 87% (47/54) on the penalty kill. Manny Legace, who leads the league with 7 wins, will get the start for the Wings. The career backup has been working on keeping his endurance up as a starter this season, which will be important as he makes his second start in as many nights:
"(I've been) running, lifting...I don't think I've ever lifted as much as I did when I came to camp. I couldn't even bench 185 two years ago, and I benched 200 pounds 18 times this year. My wind feels great out there. Two years ago, coming out of games I would have been dragging."
Since Marc Denis (2-3-0) made the start for the Blue Jackets last night, it is possible we will see Pascal Leclaire in net for Columbus. The Wings will get a boost on special teams when Kris Draper returns tonight, after suffering a bruised retina when he took a puck to the eye in the Wings' 3-2 (OT) win over the Sharks on Monday. Look for the Wings to take advantage of the power play tonight, and get up on the Jackets early. It could only take two goals to win it, as the Jackets have only 15 goals-for this season, compared to the Wings' 30. The Wings 17 goals-against is among the lowest in the league, a testament to the solid defensive core and great play as of yet by Manny Legace.


At 10/22/2005 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

14 of the Wings' 30 goals have come with the man-advantage. Not bad at all.


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