Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Four Lines Deep - 10/20/09

On the road again, eh? Sorry for the late preview, but it's only 4:30 p.m. for our West Coast readers. The Jackets are facing some angry Canadian cowboys tonight, who are looking to avenge a 2-1 loss suffered in Nationwide last week.

Without further adieu, here are the four lines:

  • First Line: To whatever degree possible, the Jackets have to keep Iginla quiet. He wasn't able to make much of an impact in the first tilt, and that likely played a role in Columbus getting two points. He only has 4 points in the campaign thus far, but he can ignite Pengrowth with one quick slapper. The Jackets will be much better off if they only have to worry about containing Glencross and Borque, the current goal scoring leaders on the squad.

  • Second Line: As stated in the First Line, Calgary is getting goal scoring support from its gritty players. They certainly can't be taken for granted. McGrattan is developing a cult following in Calgary, only made stronger by his Gordie Howe Hat Trick against Vancouver. Both the team and the city appreciate players that clank when they walk. He's quick to fight, and he'll go to the net with his stick on the ice. Forwards such as Dorsett, Boll and Murray - the Cannonballs on Ice - will be key to matching the Flames' physical style and setting the tone for the rest of the team. Dorsett will have family in the stands, so I'm sure that will provide some extra motivation. Wonder if any Calgary fans will give the Dorsett family some static? I can't imagine that would be a good idea.

  • Third Line: The special teams need to remain special. I thought the powerplay had some difficulty in gaining the zone and establishing rhythm on Saturday night vs. a very bad LA PK unit, but they still put the puck in the net. If they keep generating shots from the back-end, they should continue to be a much more viable threat than last year. The PK has obviously set the standard both in the conference and the league. No big insight here, but the PK is crucial to gaining road victories. You can bet that teams are aware of Nash and Vermette when they're manning the points -- will be interesting to see if opponents start hedging a little on pinching in. Regardless, Mason and the rest of the PK has to keep up the stellar play by blocking shots, keeping the shooting lanes open and heading into the corners with bad intentions. Tonight will be a much stiffer test than a road-weary Kings team was able to bring.

  • Fourth Line: "The Top 5" as Hitch referred to them need to start chipping in some goals. I think Voracek will ease up on his stick a bit since he notched his first on Saturday. With the way he's been skating, he could go on a tear.Likewise for Brassard. I suspect that the goals will come in bunches for him. Having one of these players start a goal-scoring streak in the first game of the road trip would obviously be best case.  Brassard is showing growing confidence with each game and was just inches from scoring on this same Calgary team a week ago. Umberger and Juice are always threats -- they just have to keep throwing pucks at the net. To that end, the Jackets outshot Calgary 33-23 a week ago, and keeping the action in Kiprusoff's office will go a long way in getting another two points in the series.

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