Blue Jackets need to channel their emotions
Anger and Desperation
In advance of tonight’s tilt with the bottom-of-the-Metro New York Islanders, Columbus head coach Todd Richards is hoping that his guys take the sting of losing to the Chicago Blackhawks two days earlier and channel that into smart play.
"There will be emotion," said Richards. "Hopefully, there’s a little bit of anger and disappointment that we use to get us more focused, to create more desperation in this game."
With the Islanders playing well lately, going 6-2-2 in their last 10, this will be no easy game with which to earn the two points in the offing.
"We were just recently in their building and we didn’t play a very good game," Richards said of a 2-0 loss March 23. "Some of it was based on how they played."
With Columbus playing five games over the next seven days, the importance of each is magnified. The fluidity of the standings finds the Blue Jackets 8th (wildcard) in the conference and on the cusp of passing Philadelphia for 3rd in the division.
Rotating the lineup will have to wait for another day, as Richards is going with the same lineup he iced for Friday’s game versus Chicago.
That includes trade deadline acquisition Matt Frattin on the line with Ryan Johansen for the second game in a row.
"He’s a right-handed shot, number one", he said. "Watching him in practice, (he’s) a guy that can shoot the puck. And, just in talking with guys who have seen him play and what he can bring."
Horton closer to return
Nathan Horton is getting close to returning to the lineup, skating on his own today. His presence and veteran leadership will be a boon to the young guys on the team.
"Day by day," said Richards. "I’m hoping that he’s on a different timeline (than Nick Foligno). I believe he’ll be back before Nick."
I’ll have more on Nathan Horton tomorrow on the website.