Here are the Keys to the Match Up for tonight’s game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Anaheim Ducks!
Take Advantage of PP: Anaheim has struggled on both the power play and the penalty kill. Their PP is currently operating at a PP% of 6.8, the worst in the NHL. Their penalty kill comes into today’s game at 75.6%, good for 28th in the league. The Jackets PP is at a 12th best 20.5% and has looked good so far. The Jackets have found success on the man advantage, even when they have played teams that are good on the penalty kill (Toronto currently has the 4th best PK%). While play at even strength is just as important, the Jackets need to take advantage on the PP. They also need to stay strong on the penalty kill and not be lulled into a false sense of security due to Anaheim’s awful PP%.
Avoid Fatigue: Tonight will mark the Jackets’ fourth game in a week, which has seen them play some tough and physical opponents. Fortunately they will have some time off following tonight’s game. They do not take the ice again until Friday against Pittsburgh. Anaheim may be fighting some fatigue of their own, as they have played 5 games in the last seven days. The CBJ must avoid the effects of fatigue and continue the momentum that built in the final minutes of the Toronto game.
Score First: That all important first goal is even more so against Anaheim. The Ducks winning % when they score first is .875 and when they finish the first with a lead, their winning % is .857. When they give up the first goal, Anaheim’s winning % drops to .333. Another interesting winning % stat is that the Jackets are a perfect 1.000 when they lead after the 2nd.