|25-3-2, 52 points||13-14-3, 29 points|
|1st in Pacific Division||4th in Central Division|
Non-televised games are a joke. It might be for the best. Consider:
- We're battling with some injuries to key cogs in the machine.
- Back to backs with Columbus tonight and Detroit tomorrow.
- The Rangers have been winning games all season.
- Travel. The team got into Columbus yesterday at 6:30 AM, play tonight, head to Detroit on Thursday, then cover three time zones again to come home and play New York.
I'm fairly wary to play the Jackets tonight. Two weeks ago they jumped on us hard in the first period, and if it wasn't for Evgeni Nabokov we could have suffered a damn near rout. Ken Hitchcock has his boys banging bodies on the forecheck, Rick Nash always seems to generate at least one excellent scoring opportunity for himself per night, and their transition game has given us problems. I remember last year there was a game in The Tank (we won 2-1 I believe) where Nabby had to stop a fistful of odd man rushes; it's a different season yes, but it just adds to my concern.
Coupled with the travel, Detroit on the horizon, and various injuries, the Sharks need to bring their "A" game for sixty minutes. A performance like Monday night's isn't going to cut it.
Light that fire Sweeney Todd.
Prediction: Sharks win 2-1.
Please let Joe Pavs be out on the ice tonight. Well shit, Joe Pavs isn't on the ice tonight.
[Update 1:36 PM]: Per David Pollak of Working the Corners:
No Joe Pavelski, no Jonathan Cheechoo. Both skated today, but Coach Todd McLellan said neither was ready to go just yet.
I'm expecting Pavelski to go tomorrow against the Big Red Machine (with about a 75% chance for Cheech as well). Here's my starting line up for Columbus. As is the usual, feel free to flame me and offer your own opinions in the comments.
On the Pavelski and Cheech note: I have a feeling they're healthy enough to go tonight, but McLellan is loathe to start them in back to back games. It's all speculation but it makes sense considering Columbus is going to be physical as all hell during the entire 60 minutes. No need in re-aggravating an injury at this point in the year.