Monday, October 24, 2005

GameDay: @ Columbus (2-6-0, 4 Pts) 7:00 ET

Columbus Blue Jackets, Back-to-Back: Game 2 Tonight is the second of eight games the Wings will play against the Columbus Blue Jackets this season and the second game of a double-header. It will be a meeting of the league's highest- and lowest-scoring offenses. Detroit won the first game, 6-0, on Saturday. The Wings are 8-1-0 and are leading the Central Division by two points over Nashville (14), who is still unbeaten at 7-0. They are also at the top of the league standings, with just one point over Vancouver. The Wings are on a five-game win streak and are unbeaten on the road so far this season (4-0-0). They are 26.3% (15/57) on the power play this season and 92.7% (51/55) on the penalty kill. 15 of the Wings' 36 goals have come with the man-advantage. The Blue Jackets are 2-6-0 and are last in the Central Division and 29th overall in the league. Only Pittsburgh (0-4-4) has a worse record. The night before they were blown out by the Wings, they had a 4-1 victory over San Jose. Their only other win was a 3-2 decision over the Chicago Blackhawks on the road on 09. Oct. The Jackets are 1-2-0 at home so far this year and are dead last in the NHL power play standings at 9.3% (5/54). Their penalty kill, at 86.4% (51/59), is much better, however, and is 7th in the league. After tonight's game, the Wings will play a three game series against Chicago (home-away-home) starting Thursday. That, combined with the CBJ double-header, gives the Wings five straight divisional games against weak opponents and a chance to keep up with, and just a little ahead of, the hot Nashville Predators. Although Chris Osgood has returned from his conditioning stint with the Griffins, Manny Legace will play tonight. He is the #1 goalie as long as he plays well. Both Blue Jackets goalies played Saturday night but I'd expect Gallant to come back with Marc Denis. Steve Yzerman will not return to the lineup tonight. The papers report that Babcock has him slated to return Thursday against the Hawks. (Freep and News) Jason Woolley is out with a groin injury himself now. Apparently, he pulled it late in the game Saturday and is listed as day-to-day. The News reports Jamie Rivers will replace him on the roster. As much of a blowout as Saturday's game was, don't expect the same tonight. The Blue Jackets will come back hard and try to win one for their fans after embarrassing themselves in their own rink. Hopefully the Wings won't get complacent as they are wont to do after games such as Saturday's. If both teams come to play, it'll be a much closer game. I do think the Wings would virtually have to fall asleep to lose tonight but it's not like it hasn't happened before. This is a test of sorts for the team, to see how focused they can stay. It seems to me that Babcock has them sharp enough but we'll see. Since the game is on OLN, I'm not sure if any of us at OtW will be able to watch it. I'll have to check and see what the lounge TV has. So we may not have a full summary for this one.


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