Thursday, November 19, 2009

Four Lines Deep 11/19/09

The Dallas Stars are the proud owners of one of the ugliest logos/sweaters in all of hockey.

Columbus (11-6-2) @ Dallas (9-5-6)
American Airlines Center, 8:30 pm EST
TV: FS-O (HD) / FS-SW (HD)
Last 5 games: CBJ (4-1) / DAL (3-2)

These two teams are about as even as they come. Both teams have earned a total of 24 points so far this season, and Dallas (7th) sits just one spot behind the Jackets (6th) in the standings. Phoenix is also tied with 24 points and sits in the 8th spot. Dallas is just returning home from a 4 game road trip. Columbus is beginning a season long 5 game road trip in Big D.

First Line: Take it to 'Em. As mentioned above, the Stars are playing their first home game after a 4-game/12-day roadie (although they did have 5 days between games 1 and 2). That includes a game last night where they managed to outlast the Red Wings in Joe Louis Arena. That game included the now infamous (it's not just famous, it's IN-famous) Brad May non-goal. Final score 3-1. They will be a tired bunch, and they Jackets will want to jump on them early. The Jackets have had a couple of days off and should be well rested. We've given up the first goal way too many times this season. Scoring on Dallas first could go a long way to taking the proverbial air out of their sails.

Second Line: Battle of the Rested Goalies. The skaters for the Stars may be tired from last night, but G Marty Turco is well rested having taken the night off. Likewise, Columbus G Steve Mason has had the past two games to get rested. Turco has a .920 SV% and 2.24 GAA in 13 games. Mason is sporting an .879 SV% and an atrocious 3.67 GAA in 14 games. This will be Mason's first outing since the debacle against Detroit on 11/11 when he gave up 8 goals. That, combined with the strong performance of backup goaltender Mathieu Garon in Mason's place should be plenty of juice to get Mason focused on playing well tonight.

Third Line: Skeletons in the Closet. Much has been made over the perceived drop in Jared Boll's level of play since taking a butt kicking from Stars F Krys Barch at the start of last season. Boll missed significant time and did not have the same fire in his belly when he did return last year. If both players are willing and able, will Boller try to redeem himself? Barch had a go with Brad May last night and both players landed some solid shots. I'm sure Barch's knuckles are tender. But the street runs both ways. Last season the Jackets sent Stars C Brad Richards out with a broken wrist that kept him out for a significant stretch late in the regular season. The Stars missed the playoffs by 8 points.

Fourth Line: Put the Past Behind You. So there was some turmoil in the Jackets clubhouse this week. Don't know if you heard, but F Nikita Filatov has been loaned by the Jackets to CSKA Moscow of the KHL. Filatov only played sparingly, at best, so to lose him from the lineup isn't a big deal. But how the situation both arose and how it was handled may be something that sticks in the backs of some players' minds. Personally, I think the players still on this team realized that Filatov wasn't ready for the NHL and are a better team for having cut some dead weight.

Bonus Line: An informed fan is a happy fan. Here are some links to some more game previews to give you even more insight into tonight's matchup: Columbus Dispatch, Dallas Morning News,, and TSN.

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