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Minnesota Wild @ Columbus Blue Jackets: Game 53

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Minnesota Wild (25-19-8) at Columbus Blue Jackets (14-32-6)

Nationwide Arena @ 6:00 PM CSTTelevision: FSN+
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Columbus perspective, check out The Cannon

Minnesota Wild Columbus Blue Jackets

Nick Johnson - Kyle Brodziak - Dany Heatley
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Carson McMillan
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Matt Kassian

Nick Schultz - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser
Marek Zidlicky - Greg Zanon

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

R.J. Umberger - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal - Colton Gillies - Jeff Carter
Antoine Vermette - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Ryan Russell - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Brett Lebda
Aaron Johnson - Grant Clitsome
John Moore - Marc Methot

Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a mystery wrapped in an enigma and served with a side of WTF. Looking at the names skating with the offense, the Jackets should be a scoring machine. Rick Nash and Jeff Carter are tasked with carrying this team, but it seems the woes of the defense and goaltending have spread throughout the team.

All of that is really too bad. The Jackets have a passionate fan base that gets zero credit for the way they support their team, mostly due to the face that the team is just never very good. The Columbus area remains one of the places on the NHL map where people look at it and say, "Really? There's a team there?" A winning team would get rid of that, and the fans deserve that.

The state of the Jackets this year is as big a surprise as any other team in the league. If you predicted the Jackets to be in dead last, raise your hand. Now, anyone who isn't fooling themselves into thinking they made that prediction, keep your hand up. Anyone left? Didn't think so.

Still, the Jackets have been the bane of their expansion brethren since the beginning. Nash is a Wild killer extraordinaire. No matter the position of these two teams, the Wild need to be ramped up for a tough battle. The two teams tend to bring out the worst in each other. Fights, bad hits, and chippy plays from both sides are to be fully expected tonight.

The news sounds like Mikko Koivu remains out, Niklas Backstrom starts. Kassian in for Brad Staubitz. Everything else looks to remain the same. This lineup played well against the Stars, save for a bumbling Marke Zidlicky coming back from his time off. The guess has to be if he looks like he did in Dallas, he won't be in the lineup again come Thursday.

Should be a fun one, folks.

PLEASE NOTE FSN+ TONIGHT. FSN+. NOT FSN, FSN+. ONE MORE TIME: FSN+.

Five Questions:

  1. Can the Wild avoid playing down to the opponent?
  2. Is there a way to stop the Wild Killer?
  3. Can Backstrom continue to hold his team in the game?
  4. Is tonight the night Christensen makes his presence felt?
  5. First game for Gillies against the Wild. How does he respond?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game: