Sunday, March 1, 2009

Standings Update..

I have been watching the standings over the last couple weeks on account of the 'red bar' that dangles below the Jackets, and while they are not doing themselves any favours, they are still bouncing around the 5/6 spot.

With only 20 games remaining in the season, the Jackets need to take advantage of their recent momentum swing from their win against Edmonton, and ride the wave as long as they can.  They need to loosen their grip and let the puck find the back of the net, and have confidence in their defensive abilities.

Here are my steps to assuring a playoff spot:

1 - Score goals..  No one needs to rely on Steve Mason any more than the Jackets defense.  Having the offense only scoring one or two goals a game simply will not cut it down the stretch.  While that may be a heavy task against goalies like Roberto Luongo tonight, the Jackets snipers have to have to be consistent and shooting from high quality scoring areas.

2 - Everything always seems to fall on Mason..  There are few times this year where the team has taken the game away from the competition.  On almost a nightly basis, Mason has stolen games and made it impossible for the opposition to take the momentum.  When he does not, the team loses almost every time.  If they want a good spot in the big show, he will have to finish out his rookie campaign with another few brilliant performances.

3 - Special teams, special teams, and special teams..  The Jackets powerplay has been abysmal all year long, and they know it.  12.5% is nothing short of embarrassing, especially for a team that wants to make their presence known in the playoffs.  They need to make a very strong turn around, even if it means making the right move at the deadline to bring in someone that can make a significant difference with the man advantage.  In my opinion, their best option with what they have is simply to not allow Backman or Modin any playoff time.

Tonight will be a prime example of whether they are going to play with desperation or not.  Vancouver will not want to see themselves tied with the Jackets after this game, so tonight will definitely be a 'who wants it more' style game.

Carry the Flag!

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