March 10, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert (11) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith (2) shove each other during the third period at the Joe Louis Arena. Columbus won 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jackets vs. Red Wings Pregame

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Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Can they pull it off? The Jackets pretty much have no option but to beat the Wings tonight if they want to make the Playoffs this year. The Jackets currently sit just two points behind Detroit. Both Detroit and Toronto have 80 points, and they hold the two Eastern Conference Wild Card spots. If the Jackets win tonight, they will tie both Detroit and Toronto for those spots. If they lose, however, Detroit will put themselves four points ahead, and the Jackets may find themselves in a hole too big to climb out of.

In the Metropolitan Division, the Jackets are five points behind the third place Flyers and six points behind the second place Rangers. This is a significant gap, but one that could be filled by the Jackets. But if they want to start making up ground in the Metro Division, they have to start winning. And that winning has to start tonight, or else they risk falling too far behind to catch up before the season ends.

Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets have proven that they are able to beat the Red Wings this season. On March 11, the Jackets overtook Detroit in an exciting 4-1 victory. However, the Jackets haven’t looked so hot lately. They dropped a home game to the Hurricanes despite registering 48 shots on goal last Tuesday, barely beat Montreal off a late goal from Ryan Johansen on Thursday, and then lost at home to the Rangers on Friday. Then there is Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders. The Jackets looked asleep throughout that game. There was a visual lack of effort, and that just can’t happen this late in the season.

Detroit has captured seven points in their last four games, losing only to Minnesota in overtime Sunday night. The Jackets will need to turn things around and try to halt the red-hot Wings tonight if they want to keep their Playoff hopes alive. Hopefully they will bring more energy and necessity than we saw in Sunday in New York, because that might be the difference between having a post-season and having to wait until next year. Go Jackets!

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Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets

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